No sports days, cricket matches, egg and spoon races or parent and child relays. We have missed a whole summer of sport in schools, professionally, socially and watched endless reruns of the Premier League, Champions League and the Gallagher Premiership. We have managed and now have a huge list of sports fixtures compressed into a few weeks. My concern is about school sports and below I will tell you why.
Over the last 20 years or so sport in schools has been ‘squeezed’. Time on the curriculum has been cut, playing fields sold for development. We have seen an increase in health and safety regulations which put teachers off exposing themselves to risk. The days of filling the minibus with the rugby team and driving them to fixtures are gone unless you are keen on 4 hours of form filling first. I remember well with fondness opening the changing room on a Saturday morning for a school footy match. No school alarms then!. We finished around 12 and then off I went to play rugby in the afternoon. As the years went by many of the lads came with me and got into Rugby. Those kids you bonded with you on the sports field never caused you problem in the classroom. You had a special relationship. Now we have fewer sports teachers. Primary schools share a ‘facilitator’!. And now.. Covid!
We are now in a situation in which there is a possibility that some of our schoolchildren will have no competitive sports for more than a year. Unlike elite sportspeople who maintain a training regime throughout the absence of formal play. How many of our children will have the self discipline to maintain a fitness regime to replace what schools offer? Not many I suspect. So to alleviate this problem where should we turn? Surely the greatest sports achievers per capita in the world…Australia and New Zealand. Guess what? Online sports lessons and workouts with rewards for the kids! You can log on from remote rural communities and use what you have in the area to work out your programme. There are tree climbing programmes, hill running swimming in local lakes etc etc. That might not be possible here. But we have other options. Lots of parks and open spaces many with exercise equipment or simply open spaces to work out in. In the Southern hemisphere they record their efforts and earn points towards various rewards. Surely there is a gap in the market for someone here? I realise lots of professional sports clubs are doing so well to engage kids. Organisations such as the YMCA are still doing great work providing school and holiday clubs. But, hey..someone out there..what about an imaginative winter fitness programme for our kids?
I know one person who needs it..me!
Produced by Michael Mckeever 28/10/2020