It’s that time of the year when primary and junior schools will be holding their sports day, and as per usual it will bring up the subject of whether they should be competitive or non-competitive.
It of course is entirely up to schools how they wish to approach sports day. The school our seven year old twin girls attend has a sports day that is competitive and I for one am completely happy with that. They give a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in all the races and I cannot see anything wrong with that. It is teaching my girls to try their best to win the race and show desire and belief that they can win, but they also have to learn that not winning is not the end of the world, and possibly try a bit harder next time.
There is of course teaching them that winning is fantastic, but don’t gloat over those you have beaten but also to be a gracious loser.
In these early days of their lives they are learning that if you want to succeed in life it takes effort and determination to achieve your goals and that applies to both academic and sporting success. It all takes desire l, and winning on sports day can help them in adulthood. Let’s be fair, life as an adult working your way up the job scale is tough and these early lessons in winning and losing will be of huge benefit. As long as they are taught fairness and doing it the right way I see no problem with competitive sports day.
Of course many schools have a non-competitive sports day where there are there no winners or losers and for me the lesson the children learn from this is that even if they are last it doesn’t matter, but the danger of being last could be taken into adulthood then we would have a generation of children that don’t have any drive or ambition to be the best they can in their chosen career and could quite often settle for second best.
We need to produce winners in life, whether that be sporting or in business. A non-competitive sports day will undoubtedly produce non-winners in life. In my humble opinion like it or not sport and commerce needs winners from every generation, and that begins finding them in primary school.
There will always be winners and losers in life and I think we need to teach our young children it’s ok to win and be gracious, and it is also ok to lose, but we should inspire them to be better and hopefully teach them to win next time.
What do you think? Should sports day be competitive or non-competitive? I would love to hear in the comments below.