I used to love sports day as a kid.
A chance to get out of school, enjoy the sunshine, run and jump while screaming for my house.
As I got older, I realised that sports day meant a lot of waiting around for a small slice of action. Particularly if you weren’t adept at sports and were knocked out quickly.
As a teacher I find myself even more conflicted. On one hand, I know there are kids who thrive being part of a house competing against others, shouting and screaming support from the sidelines.
There are also another group of kids for whom sports day is something to be endured. It’s hot, uncomfortable and slogging it out against others just isn’t in their character. The tribal nature of events like this no doubt irks the kids who are happy to go their own way.
Many schools try to reconcile sport as a winner-takes-all event with the recreational aspect by focusing on participation with a few low-stakes events. Yet I can’t help feeling that this arrangement ends up like many compromises to please either end of the continuum.
When I was a student, Athletics Day was a thing where I was made to stand in the sun for hours doing nothing, with the occasional break to allow people a chance laugh at me for being uncoordinated. Now that I’m a teacher it’s much the same.
I’m spending Athletics Day this year in the resource room cataloging books…
(I do get why many people like those days, but even now when I come across a bunch of goths and weirdos huddled out of sight trying to avoid the hundred-meters, I can’t bring myself to force them to do it…)