What Sports Day has Taught Us

Call it instinct – Call it what you want, but the last thing we want is for our children to stumble and get hurt. Whether they stumble as they start to take their first steps, or as they stumble along in life, or when their ego’s get bruised when they under achieve; our instinct is to protect, and if we could, we would probably clear every obstacle out of their path. We want the best for our kids and so we set the bar of expectation high…

It’s true, we live in a society where there is no reward for defeat, and so we groom our kids for victory and success. We don’t merely want them to try something…we want them to WIN at it.  And though it’s important to always strive to do our best, to aim for the accolades that society so readily dishes out for excellence; losing is as important to human growth as winning!  
Every single year I sit tirelessly in the stands on the side lines of the sports field (with my sister always faithfully by my side) as I cheer my children on for their sporting events. Win or lose, I’m there, waving the flag, shouting till my voice is gone, ready with a hug when that few seconds of effort is complete. It’s an important event on our calendar, not only because of their achievements, but  mostly because of the valuable lessons we have gotten out of it.  Each of my children have different strengths, so the lesson has been different for each child…
Society has a funny way of putting people with different strengths to bat together on the same field. Sometimes this can have a negative impact on young, developing beings, if they can never measure up to societies expectations. For my eldest child, the sports field is where she comes alive. For me, the sports field is where I celebrate her strengths!! We have learnt to accept and acknowledge that everyone has a different talent, and everyone’s talent is worthy of celebrating!


My middle child has a tendency to not try something unless he is sure he will make a success of it. While I’m not quite sure if this is a good thing, I’m not going to promote my kids to cheat themselves out of effort! He is not a bad athlete, even though he might not be the best. And YOUR best is always good enough for me. One of the greatest gifts I could have given him in particular, is that winning isn’t everything! That he shouldn’t be afraid to try, no matter what the outcome!!


You know the saying “sore loser” ? Well I have  had one of those! A great lesson to learn at an early age is that winning isn’t everything. Sure, it feels great! Sure, we should always strive to do our best…but we simply cannot win at everything, and that’s ok! Sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we feel disappointed in ourselves when we don’t quite reach our own expectations, but I always want my kids to know, that my only expectation is that they try at all. Without life’s disappointments, we simply cannot grow. (I am proud to announce that said child has become a pro at not winning…but what’s even better is when he realised that by taking himself out of the equation, he was also missing out on the fun…and that’s what sports day is all about -FUN!)


Know your worth…but also know the worth of your opponent! Part of participating is knowing that everyone on the field has worked hard. Everyone deserves to win. And when you don’t, it’s not the end of the world. I love how my daughter and her friends don’t compete as oppositions, but as peers. And never mind who crossed the finish line first, they celebrate each others victories together! How we accept defeat is a good reflection of character.


I admit, I feel sorry for my kids when they experience disappointments; but one positive contribution my husband has made to parenting our kids (yes…I am giving him credit for something!) is to find the humour in serious situations. He has it down to a fine art and sport disasters does not escape a joke or two. Laughter is the best medicine. It is not a theory…it is the truth.


Society teaches us that shallowness equals success. Smart car, fancy house, great career…these are the things we define as success. But if we really pause to think, I’m sure most moms would agree that all they really want is for their kids to be happy! I think it’s important to raise our kids to never lose sight of the bigger picture. When we teach our children to deal with disappointments, we are in fact building  their character…and that will lead them to the ultimate success!!


So as the bigger kids roll on to High School where they require less of mommy’s presence and encouraging cheers; I started the cycle again with my baby with his first sporting event. Where exactly he fits into the dynamics of things (athlete or not) I am yet to discover, but rest assured I will be on the side lines, as I’ve always been, guiding and encouraging in whichever way he needs. For his first go at it, I was quite chuffed that my little champion was oblivious to his competitors or whether he won or lost. He was just happy to be on the field and part of his team!

 As for my nephew Shakeel, having always shied away from sport, he made me super proud to set his fears aside and participate this year. Onward an upward…we will always be your biggest cheerleaders no matter what!

Thanks for reading!



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