Every loser wins if they learn lessons

KIERAN HOWARD: There needs to be a uni degree course in parenting

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When I was at school I used to love the annual sports day.

I didn’t have any aspirations to be a sports star and I certainly wasn’t showing any signs of being the next David Beckham or Mo Farah, but it was a great day of being out of the classroom and in the sunshine.

Ask any child whether they want to be in a stuffy room on a summer’s 
day learning their times tables or if they’d rather be out in the warm air on the school playground watching people running along with an egg on a spoon.

The egg will always be the winner.

I’ve always been tall and this is probably why my teachers decided to enter me for the hurdles race.

So there I was on the start line waiting for the whistle that signalled I should start running.

In front of me, to my left and right, were a blur of parents who had come to watch their children make them proud.

Straight ahead of me I could see the first hurdle I would have to use all my strength to leap over.

I say hurdle, it wasn’t what you saw the Olympians jumping over last summer, but actually two traffic cones with a dent made at the peak so a bamboo stick would sit nicely on the top.

As I waited, I glanced at my competitors either side of me and felt pretty confident I would be victorious as I was the tallest.

The whistle blew and off we went. I didn’t win, I think I came in second place.

I would have loved to have won and was probably a bit disappointed. But in the end, I was happy I’d done it without knocking any bamboo sticks over and was quite pleased with my certificate congratulating me on 
being the runner-up of the hurdles race of 1993.

Worryingly though, I’m reading that in some schools now there is no runner-up.

In fact there isn’t even a winner and there are certainly no losers.

Apparently many schools are rewarding all pupils who take part and prizes are given to both winners and losers so that no-one feels left out and no feelings are hurt.

My personal view is that competition is good for children and that it can be a positive thing.

We need rivals. If you want to compete with someone else you have to grow and get better and of course for someone to win, someone also has to lose.

If you have the right attitude you will turn your loss into something positive and gain from it.

Competition leads to growth, so in the future I hope my daughters win at sports day.

But I also hope sometimes they will lose too.