School sports day agony for parents


Rhian Waller

IT IS sports day season and schools all over the region are pitting pupils against each other – all in the best spirit, of course.

For the youngsters, it’s a chance to show off their skills, while for the teachers, it’s a chance to celebrate the athletic achievements of their young charges.

But while most parents are content to politely cheer their child on, win or lose, some get more involved than others.

And some Leader readers were open about their passionate support of their children.

“I’m usually the loudest parent screaming my child on,” said Fiona Bassett, 37, of Wrexham.

Jo Roberts, 21, also of Wrexham, added: “I scream like a hooligan and I have video proof!

“And I take part in the mum’s race. It’s always a good laugh.”

June Lincoln, 56, of Mold, said; “I would like to say it didn’t matter if my child didn’t win, and it was the taking part that mattered... but I’d be fibbing!

“Although my heart used to go out to my son and I’d feel for him if he came last, he never seemed to care. It was just me!”

Others take matters into their own hands by competing directly.

Julie Lloyd, 48, said: “I entered the mum’s race, it was hysterical.

“I had flippy floppy shoes on and as I started running I could feel myself going forward. Yes I fell!

“Everybody went quiet until I jumped up and screamed ‘I’m ok’. Everybody cheered me on as I walked to the finish line in last place. My six-year-old was crying. After that, I’m sad to say, there was no more mum’s race.

“I loved sports days, I used to scream my head off. It’s a lovely school, Gwenfro.”

Rob Hughes, 27, of Bagillt, did a bit of extra-curricular training with his son.

He said: “I got my five-year-old to practise sprinting last year with me and he won his race – it’s one of our proudest moments so far. Of course he got some help from me cheering him on as if it was his last race ever.”

Most parents were simply proud to see their children participate, even if the rules were sometimes bent a little.

Alexandra O’Sullivan, 23, of Sandycroft, said: “My son is Harley O’Sullivan.

“He’s five years old and is in reception at Sandycroft CP. He did brilliantly, but only won because he ran before they said go!”

Holly Hollingsworth, 28, of Halkyn, said: “My daughter Lizzi is five. She came second in a skipping race at Lixwm school.

“It was the only race she was interested in!”

Simon Tyler, 39, of Wrexham, whose son attends Penygelli Juniors, said: “I believe it’s all in the taking part not winning, but it’s always nice to see them win.”

Susan Grice, 39, of Chirk, said: “They don’t have parent races in Weston Rhyn primary. I would take part if they did.

“Chuffed to bits both my kids got a first place. I encourage them that taking part is all that matters. I have videoed races to show them how proud I am of them.”

Sometimes things can go too far.

Christine Evans, 47, of Wrexham, remembered an altogether more relaxed sports day at Overton-on-Dee Primary School in 1974.

She said: “It used to be fun in my days but now there is too much pressure on the kids to win and so competitive.

“I have even seen the parents arguing about who has won when two children cross the line about the same time.

“They have stopped parent races in some schools because of the competitiveness of parents. I used to love watching the parents’ race back in the day.”

A number of Flintshire, Wrexham and Chester residents contacted us to bemoan the lack of a parents’ race, saying their children’s school had stopped holding them for “health and safety” reasons.

Others mentioned how sports day had been done away with altogether.

Clare Butler, 33, who lived in Ewloe but now lives in Manchester, said: “Our (English) school stopped sports day altogether as the kids were too upset when they didn’t win.

“Now they have a sports week where they do activities and sponsored events. It’s a shame because I love cheering them on.”

Despite this, North Wales and Cheshire schools have stuck to tradition – sack races, egg and spoon races and skipping races were still to be seen at primary schools, together with parents cheering their youngsters on.

See full story in the Leader

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