On the playing fields of Tweeddale…


A local council at Tweeddale banned a children's sports tournament that has taken place for 40 years, reports Laura Pitel in the Times. The reason? "to protect young players from becoming upset if they lost." Sports development officers at the local council believed that primary schoolchildren on losing teams would suffer from "low self-esteem."

In fact this is what has always happened. Children play sports at school and learn how it feels to win, and how to handle defeat. They learn to stretch their performance against others and strive to excel, and they learn composure when they lose and how to move on. They learn how to work in a team to achieve a result.

The council's policy is apparently "trophy-free," to enable the children to express themselves "without the focus on the result." The world is not like that.

Part of life is about expressing yourself, certainly, but part of it is about results. Part of it is competitive, too, and school is a good place to learn the skills and the demeanor appropriate to that.

Some parents thought as much, and started a Facebook campaign to have competitive sports restored. Now the council has reinstated the inter-schools football and netball competition.

This is good news for the children. Not only will they have the fun of competitive sports, but their long-term interests will be enhanced as their characters take shape and prepare them for a life that is not wrapped in the cotton wool of education psychologists.