In today’s world, competition is an unavoidable aspect of most of our lives, no matter what our age. For our children, sports activity is considered a healthy aspect of schooling or leisure pursuit. Aside from the physical benefits of exercise, team sport is thought to promote self regulation, co-operation with others and the development of moral attitudes. However, sports and competition go hand in hand. For every winner there will be a set of losers and while team sports will always have the benefit of learning to work towards a common goal, what about sports day, where most competition is related to personal endeavour?
The result is that schools are divided on the issue. Some believe that traditional sports days are important, with winners and losers and heated competition. They, and many parents, believe that children need to experience losing and learn that losing is ok. Others think these lessons are too harsh for young children, and primary school children play on teams where no winners or losers are announced on sports day. This setup may be preferable for children who are particularly weak in sport, and where self esteem may suffer from continually coming last.