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Tuesday June 24, 2008

A Sporting Chance


It came as no surprise that a school in the UK has banned sports day for fear of one of the children stumbling on loose mud or twisting an ankle on a random mole hill. It is indeed laughable but England has become such a nanny state that this sort of utter tosh is now the norm. Long gone are the days when a child fell over in the playground, had some stinging iodine slapped on the wound, got back on its feet and carried on playing. Even conkers have been banned for fear of knocking a child’s eye out. It’s a veritable miracle that anyone of my generation ever made it to adulthood given all the rumbustious playground rituals we had. Still, this week I took heart. My son participated in his Spanish school’s sports day, competing with thirty top runners in a 5 km run around the school stadium in blazing heat. He came home triumphant, clutching a stunning cup and medal. He had a nasty looking bloody graze on his arm where he’d slipped and fallen during one of the obstacle races but he’d still taken a prize and rushed on to the next event. The sport’s teacher had splashed some stinging antiseptic on his arm and told him not to be a big girl’s blouse. Good man! If that wasn’t enough to warm a non-politically correct mother’s heart, all the final year pupils of his junior school year were given a graduation ceremony in front of the parents, with fireworks scoring the skies as the boys proudly displayed their pass certificates and wore school sashes and mortar boards. I waited. I held my breath. Would the kids be allowed to hurl their hats in the air, now banned at English universities? Then with a flourish, they flung their mortar boards into the crowds and everyone whooped and clapped. The parents smiled. The teachers laughed. No one lost an eye. No one was concussed. A victory for common sense. A victory for fun and life!





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