Mum asks if it's ok to let daughter skip sports day – and sparks fierce debate

A mum has been left in a tricky situation after her daughter begged her to let her stay home on sports day – and the parent isn’t sure what the right thing to do is

Space hoppers on sports day
Some kids enjoy sports day – but for some it’s a traumatic event (Stock Image)

For those who aren’t athletically inclined sports day at school could definitely be a little traumatic.

If you were coming last in the three-legged race, the wave of humiliation that would go through you because you’d been paired up with someone super sporty was real.

That’s why one mum took to Mumsnet to ask other parents if they thought it was reasonable to let her daughter stay off for sports day – because she really doesn’t want to do it.

She wrote: “She’s 10. She really finds PE very difficult, she takes after me and just isn’t particularly good at sports, isn’t a fast runner etc etc.

“She does however play for a girls football team. But being completely honest – she’s by far the weakest player. She enjoys it though and I am unbelievably proud of her for sticking at it. I can guarantee that wouldn’t have been me at that age.

“She’s had a tough couple of days, sports day is on Friday. Firstly, her football team played in a tournament on Saturday and she scored an own goal. She also passed the ball to the wrong player causing them to score on the opposite team. She was absolutely mortified and the girls on her team were (understandably to an extent) not the kindest to her.

Sports day can be really isolating if you feel like you’re not good enough (Stock Image)

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“Yesterday she had sports day practice. She came out of school very emotional because she came last in every race. She begged me to let her have sports day off school.

“Now I won’t lie, I do let my children stay at home every now and then. If they seem a bit stressed, tired, run down, overwhelmed with school work etc. This doesn’t happen often, it’s not a regular thing but I have done it in the past and used it to spend quality one-on-one time with my children.

“I remember what it’s like on sports day. I used to do the same thing to my mum every year and beg for the day off. I know exactly how my daughter is feeling and I feel for her so much. Her confidence has really been knocked over the past couple of days.”

The post sparked a debate as some parents were sympathetic towards the girl, understanding that sports day isn’t for everyone.

“Let her take the day off. Sports Day is horrid for non-sporty kids”, one sympathised.

Another wrote: “My children aren’t at all sporty either. You might have some people say she needs to learn that you can’t be good at everything and that’s ok.

“But I think she probably already knows that, my kids certainly do! Take the day off, do something lovely with her and make her feel special.”

“I always kept mine home on sports days for the last few years of primary. It was always massively crowded and overwhelming. Not about winning or losing, but just the stress of the whole thing is quite painful for some kids.

“I think it’s great they have sports days but I definitely think that a child should be able to opt out, in the same way that they are not forced to do school concerts etc”, one reasoned.

However, others disagreed and thought the girl should be made to go.

A different user said: “I wouldn’t – someone has to come last. You’re good at some things and not at others.”

Someone else added: “I would still make her go but emphasize it’s just one day, there will be others not enjoying it and not everyone can win (I always came last too) and tell her you’ll do something nice after school/weekend even if it’s just an ice cream out.”

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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