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Sports day angst

(90 Posts)
manchestermummy Mon 17-Jun-13 16:25:21

DD1's first sports day today. She came last in all but one event (as I suspected she might!) and was in races with the girl who does 1,000,000 sporting activities each day.

I feel so very bad for her. She's academically a good all-rounder, very creative, sociable and popular. But her little face this morning sad sad sad. And in tears all wekeend thinking about it.

I know it's a rite of passage, but I'm worried my PFB will remember this day forever more.


Periwinkle007 Mon 17-Jun-13 16:35:44

ah bless her. I was always last or very nearly last in sports days but then when we were in year 6 they did a swimming gala for the first time and I won 3 races! Did they not split them into similar ability groups? I know our preschool does that so they do practices and work out who should go together roughly to try and give them a chance (and also so they aren't a really long way back).

You are right, it is a rite of passage and it is something they have to get used to, just like the children who win sports day may be the worst at maths or english but that doesn't make it any easier when your child is upset does it. I suppose this is one of the reasons they tried to make everything at school noncompetitive but then that doesn't help either as life isn't like that.

All you can do is remind her of her achievements and that you are proud of her for running and trying

manchestermummy Mon 17-Jun-13 16:40:35

They split by year group but beyond that no. By the same token there was a little boy in DD1's class who I am sure could run the socks off the Year 2s!

I too was always last, but was a good swimmer (as DD1 appear to be). Am just hoping that I haven't sent her to a school where sporting achievement is the be all and end all sad

Would it be horribly PFB-ish to suggest that in future they try grouping the kids by ability? You wouldn't expect a tone deaf child to stand in front on 200 kids plus parents and sing a solo, would you?!

jo164 Mon 17-Jun-13 16:46:08

I run our school sports day and for this reason all KS1 races are done as relays, then the children have no idea who was individually the quickest. They start individual events in year 3. I try not to put any of them off sport at the age of 5! I'm sure it won't scar her for life, but she may be a little reticent to join in next year. Just remind her of the things she is good at and that just because athletics events aren't her thing at the moment there are plenty of other sports/activities to try.

manchestermummy Mon 17-Jun-13 16:49:25

Oh, I am being really PFB-ish, aren't I.

I tell her constantly how fab she is (unlike my own mother).

jo164 Mon 17-Jun-13 16:56:52

No you just care because she does. If it hasn't bothered her you wouldn't have given it a thought. Not many schools would give out academic prizes for maths/reading and phonics in Reception as they would be saying 'all children develop at different rates etc etc', so why its okay to make a 5 yr old feel utterly terrible in front of parents/peers in a sporting event is beyond my understanding - and I'm a PE teacher! No harm in suggesting ability races or relay events, they may have just not thought of it.

neolara Mon 17-Jun-13 17:05:44

I know it feels rubbish when your dcs do really badly at stuff, but on the other hand, it sounds like she is doing great at a whole range of other stuff. Lots of kids go through their whole school careers with the balance the other way round - finding one thing easy and a whole range of stuff really hard. Maybe it's an opportunity for you to talk to your dd about losing with good grace, identifying what she can learn when she experiences difficulties and thinking about how to approach things she is not already good at. All fabulous lessons for life.

Galena Mon 17-Jun-13 19:06:59

DD is always going to be last in races - she has cerebral palsy, and, whilst she can walk, she is slow and wobbly and will never be able to compete with her peers. She's going to have to get used to it, which will be hard and it broke my heart last year when she couldn't do everything her peers could at her playgroup sports day. It didn't bother her, but I'm dreading the day it does bother her. sad

But she's got to learn that she's good at reading and not good at running.

Taffeta Mon 17-Jun-13 19:53:43

I'm sorry if she feels bad. sad

BUT.....what about kids that are good at sport but not gifted academically? Sports Day is the one day when their talents are recognised. The child that is repeatedly forgotten day to day in the classroom as they are unexceptional gets a chance to shine. I get a bit annoyed that it seems OK to hand out academic awards but not celebrate sporting achievement. What about the last child in the class to get a pen licence? Nobody seems to think there's anything wrong with that.

Periwinkle007 Mon 17-Jun-13 20:04:24

I think the thing is races are quite an obvious winner and loser if that makes sense, I have always liked sports that are less clear cut like gymnastics and ice skating etc because whilst yes someone wins and someone comes last it is less visually obvious. Being the best at reading isn't as obvious as like I think has been said already never has attention drawn to it. It is part of life though and in many ways the sooner the lesson is learned that being who you are is more important than being the best at something the better but I do feel for you. I would be fine if my daughters came last but didn't care but if they are upset then your heart breaks for them.

and Galena - it sounds like your daughter has adjusted well to her problems, if it doesn't bother her now perhaps it never will.

chatee Mon 17-Jun-13 20:15:51

Get her involved in the disability sports groups near you ( when she is old enough to join obviously), it really made a huge difference to my dd to be able to join in at the same level as her peers- and she classes her peers as children with a disability cerebral palsy or other....
Don't do what I did for a few years and buried my head in the sand and thought oh she will cope - it really did affect her self esteem by aged 7 and it took quite a while to help overcome the negative feelings in every day areas of life( that we wouldn't even realise at 7 she had thought about)

GrimmaTheNome Mon 17-Jun-13 20:19:40

DDs primary was one which encouraged individual achievement - quite a few kids would go to county championships, the teams played against other schools etc.... but in infants the sports day was all team events (obstacle race relays, cumulative jump ... fun team events). At secondary it was an inter-house competition, with a mix of individual events (sprints/long jump/high jump...) but mostly relays (inc sack) and cumulative throw (foam javelin!). So the non-sporty kids could take part (they weren't allowed to just put the fast kids in every race) but the sporty ones could excel. It doesn't have to be an either/or between inclusivity and excellence!

OP - encourage your DD in activities she likes. A love of swimming is likely to last longer than school sportsday activities. Don't make a big deal of this - I suppose I can still remember coming last in all the races but it hasn't had any dire effect, it was just something that wasn't my thing.

PoppyWearer Mon 17-Jun-13 20:24:43

Oh yes, I sympathise, I was that child! Academically bright but useless at sports day.

Until....the longer-distance races (I'm talking 800m, cross-country huge for a teenager) came in. Then I was able to do a bit better, think I even came second once. I hope this is the case for your DD, OP.

I don't know what else to advise, I had bags of enthusiasm for PE when I was at school, but being useless at it made me feel awful and put me off until I discovered running aged about 30.

Periwinkle007 Mon 17-Jun-13 20:49:32

Chatee has a good point there Galena. You could try contacting Get Kids Going for advice on local clubs etc if your daughter wanted to try different sports. They are the charity David Weir got involved in sports through I believe (and many other top paralympians). I have a friend who was a Commonwealth champion who goes round schools in the North of England and south of Scotland encouraging children to invest in themselves, he often gets them playing sitting volleyball etc and I expect it really changes who is good at what.

Periwinkle007 Mon 17-Jun-13 20:53:55

Poppywearer - I gave up on sports but then went into coaching and competition management having convinced myself I was far too useless to actually DO them

willyoulistentome Mon 17-Jun-13 20:55:28

What about those poor kids who are middle of the road at everything. Never getting to win fucking anything. Never having their name read out in assembly or getting a nice rosette.
Always just a pathetic 'well done' sticker.
He notices. I notice. It hurts.

greenfolder Mon 17-Jun-13 20:56:33

oh dear- bucking the trend.

dd2 hated sports day from reception onwards. she especially hated the feeling of everyone looking at her. from year 2 to year 5 we had weeks of build up, tears, fake sickness to get out of it.

from year 6 i promised she would never have to do another sports day. if she no longer got wound up about it, i would phone her in sick. and we have done that every year- she is in year 11 now.

life is too short, frankly.

Periwinkle007 Mon 17-Jun-13 21:15:36

willyoulistentome - that was me other than that 1 swimming gala which was my last year there, well no I was normally near the bottom actually but we didn't even get well dones. sat through I don't know how many prize givings to never get anything. one certificate for something would have meant the world to me.

manchestermummy Mon 17-Jun-13 21:45:05

She seemed quite happy this evening, so perhaps I am overthinking as per usual. She got a new reading book today so as far as she is concerned all is well.

I know this is all part of life. I just don't see how the lesson has to be learned at 5. But hopefully this time next year she will realise I mean it when I say not everyone can win. And I shall be sending DH.

Galena Mon 17-Jun-13 21:47:12

Thanks, I will look into sports for DD. Is there much she can do at 4?

MaryKatharine Mon 17-Jun-13 21:52:02

So what about the children in her class who every day are becoming increasingly aware that they are not as academically able as your DD. Perhaps this was their day to shine and beating your daughter helped them see that whilst she is good at maths, say, they are good at running.

I'm not being funny, just offering you a different perspective. smile

Periwinkle007 Mon 17-Jun-13 21:53:53

I am glad she has cheered up Manchestermummy.

Galena I don't see why not. Even if it is more a case of her seeing athletes with Cerebal Palsy and seeing there are other ways to play sport, it isn't all about running. Perhaps 4 IS too young but if you ask around you will know what age she could try things at a club and be prepared if she wants to. If you look down the list of our Paralympic medalists there are a few with CP which may show her (should it worry her at some point) that it doesn't stop her doing things. Bethany Woodward won a silver and bronze for running.

MaryKatharine Mon 17-Jun-13 21:53:59

Oh and my good friend is in Sth Manchester and was texting me earlier about their sports day (we used to live there too). It sounds like you had a nice day for it up there. We had ours just over a week so and it was just too hot.

manchestermummy Mon 17-Jun-13 21:54:00

Oh I do appreciate that, honestly I do. Sports day is a very public way to do it.

manchestermummy Mon 17-Jun-13 21:55:05

Oh and yes, good weather smile for once!

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