Playing sport was jumpers for goal posts, mud gripping my hair and playing in the dark until nobody could kick the ball anymore. But times have changed, and I don’t want to sound like an old man, but it was better in the old days.
Today sport has been crippled by money, drugs, cheating and political correctness that the only message our children hear are the wrong ones.
Take sports days for example. I am not a great believer in the ‘non-competitive’ nature of most school sports day. I appreciate that we want children to feel included but sport, by its very nature, is a competition.
Teaching kids that by merely taking part, they are a winner, has its place but it also has the potential to breed an adult who expects a lot more from society than they are ever going to get.
I see these adults everywhere. People who think they can pootle along and be taken care of while the rest of us compete to earn money to feed our kids on a daily basis.
Now I am not saying I NEVER tell my kids that taking part is just as important as winning. Of course it is. But they need to understand that the goal is to not simply exist, but to work hard, show commitment, and try your very hardest.
However the people in power are not helping the situation.
Sport is a mess with corruption and scandals all we ever seem to read about. You just know that some of these people were the last one picked in school so are using their money and status to buy power in sport.
Sepp Blatter. I would rather my child swore than utter those two words. Here is a man with so many fingers in pies (and stories he can tell about other people that he feels untouchable). What on earth is he like as I dad?
“Hey Son! It’s sports day. Now remember it’s all about taking part. But remember you must also win so here is £1 million to buy out the teacher.”
Cycling has always been riddled with drugs and Lance Armstrong became its drugs overlord in one of the most damaging tales of any sport. He was my hero and I remember defending him. Just because a man is so good does not mean he is on drugs. Well I was wrong.
Football has corruption at every level with countries so hot winning the World Cup that you can only assume they were being fanned with so many bank notes that they did not realise the actual temperature.
Athletics did an amazing job of bringing the right messages of sport to our kids in the Olympics. However it has now been revealed to simply have been sweeping its own drug issues under the carpet.
And now Tennis has been found out with its match fixing and players being paid to lose games.
So, instead of me telling my children all about the great sportsmen and their achievements, I have to explain corruption, match fixing and drugs abuses as they are broadcast on the radio on the school run.
Taking part in sport is a major government initiative to reduce childhood obesity and generally motivate kids. Numbers are dropping though. Is it any wonder why? Why take part when you can simply put your hand in your pocket and pull out a needle, a bundle of cash or some photographs of the last bunga bunga party you attended to shut someone up.
There are brilliant people and volunteers who give up their team to run sports clubs for kids. They are tireless and truly believe in what sport can do to help kids health and esteem. It’s time that this ‘grass roots’ level of sport was supported, not just by money, but by the right morals and messaging from those on high.