Sunny sports days are loved by Sheffield schools - if only the parents can behave....

The spell of sunny weather that has been shining down on Sheffield schools had a positive impact on one of the most traditional aspects of school life – sports day.

Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 8:41 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 3:02 pm
NILABE100719c4sch, Granby junior school sports day. year 3 pupils racing to the finish.

There’s nothing better than getting the whole school involved in sporting activities on a gloriously warm day, seeing them cheer their friends on and try their best to secure points for their house.

Having a straight run of sunshine and no rain of note to worry about means that dozens of schools managed to hold their sports day this week - the most popular time to host the event.

We should raise a glass of isotonic sports drink to the teachers who organise these wonderful events.

Sports Day is often the school event that engages the most people from the community during the whole academic calendar; it’s common to see parents, grandparents, friends and neighbours watching loved ones take part in events.

Many make an afternoon of it, bringing chairs, snacks and plenty of tittle tattle to catch up with people they’ve not seen in a while.

On the field, young ones give their all whether they’ve got to shoot balls into the net, retrieve bean bags or give a sprint finish in one of the more competitive races.

Of course, these events don’t organise themselves.

From letters home through to risk assessments, from planning the running order to motivating kids to take part, there are teachers behind every sports day who go above and beyond.

And it’s not just the hours and hours that go into these community events beforehand that are important.

On the day, teachers make sure sports days run smoothly – don’t underestimate the skills needed in dealing with hundreds of excited young people desperate to burn off energy in hot weather!

As I write this, my own daughter has just gone off buzzing with enthusiasm as she tries to get her house winning the cup and a decent finish in a long-distance race.

So on behalf of people of Sheffield, I want to thank everybody involved in the planning and running.

If you ask one of the teachers who have taken on a sports day, they will tell you it’s one of the most stressful tasks of the year, partly because of the enormity of the event but also because it’s the one that gets a large number of parents chuntering.

The smiley faces cheering on the kids are, of course, genuine, but there is a significant number of mums and dads who kick off over sports day, and even the simplest issue can escalate to take up a disproportionate amount of time for teachers.

One year, I had to field a ludicrous amount of hassle from a parent because their little darling had not made it to the sprint final and they thought it was a tragedy on a scale with the Lionesses being knocked out of the World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

I’ve also experienced outrage from mums and dads when sports day had to be cancelled due to bad weather – it seems nothing was more important than them taking a day off work, not even the health of the children.

You may have seen in the news that one school in Wales felt it had no choice but to completely cancel sports day, not because of the weather but due to inappropriate behaviour parents had displayed in previous years.

It really has come to something when we, as parents, cannot behave or show our children a sporting example, but that is what is happening in some places.

We may think we’re not that bad in Sheffield, but try walking around on a Saturday and Sunday morning to watch junior football and you’ll find aggressive parents shouting at the referee and telling the school-age players how poor they are.

It’s time we put a stop to this nonsense and appreciated sports day for what it is – a fun chance to take part in some activities, have a friendly competition and create some fond memories.

A school sports day is not the Olympic Games.

So thank the teachers at the end and, whatever the result, take your child home and shower them in praise for taking part.

After all, it’s the taking part that counts.