So David Cameron has jumped upon the success of Team GB and said that “We need a big cultural change – a cultural change in favour of competitive sports”. He has said that we need to end the culture of everyone receiving medals, blah blah blah.
I left school in 2004 which, although it doesn’t seem that long ago, was actually a good while ago (8 years, that is terrifying). Anyway, I can most certainly say that not everyone received a medal.
I think there should be an emphasis on fitness in schools, absolutely. But competitive sport? Not all of us are sporty. I most certainly wasn’t, and remain hopelessly un-coordinated and graceless to this day.
I don’t know why Cameron thinks schools aren’t competitive in sport, because mine certainly was. The school sports teams were always mentioned in the assemblies and given trophies and shields and various other paraphernalia. I got a prize for my Rainforest Project and won the year 8 speaking competition but were those achievements mentioned in front of the whole school? NO THEY WEREN’T. *bitter* I also didn’t receive a prize after my GCSEs because despite getting 5 As, 2 Bs and 2 Cs, I didn’t get any A*s. But throwing a ball into a net? Why, HAVE ALL THE TROPHIES YOU WANT!
I jest, I jest. (Sort of.) But my experience has been that schools have always over-emphasised sport, to the detriment of the rest of us. Sports ‘day’ seemed to go on for ages with the field events being done weeks before the main track events. I was put in for javelin and came behind a girl who I’m pretty sure suffered from malnutrition. I did shotput and my PE teacher told me I threw like a girl. Thanks, Miss Wright, for stating the obvious.
I never minded sports day too much when I was in primary school and we were all rewarded with an iced bun and orange squash (not a MEDAL, Mr Cameron!) but high school sports day was too much. I was competing against people who played sports at county level; why would I have a chance?
I believe my finest sporting moment came in year 7 when I did not come last in the cross country. Oh happy days! (I came about 5th from last and I was so happy I told my parents.)
School put me off sports so much that I never did anything sporty outside of school. I only started to swim again last year after I remembered how much I loved it and how I was actually ok at it! The only time I enjoyed school sports was in year 11 when we were allowed to do trampolining, badminton and aerobics (I still can’t listen to Michael Jackson’s Beat It without coming out in a sweat) – note that these are not the traditional competitive school sports of running, netball and hockey (although hockey was kind of fun because you could whack the ankles of the girls who bitched about you behind your back).
In conclusion to this rather rambling blog post: fitness in schools? Good. Absolutely. Do it. Make them do the Shred. Sports? Yes, but go easy on them. We can’t all throw shotputs like Miss Trunchbull or guide a ball around a set of cones with our feet. And if some kids show an aptitude for it? Great – get them in after school classes, but don’t favour them over the rest of the class and leave the rest of us to our devices, because it almost certainly ends with a 16 year old girl called Nicola throwing a tantrum on the tennis court and sitting down and refusing to play any more because her friend Lucie is just too damn good.