Compulsory competive games

Martha Payne baking

Martha Payne baking

What legacy the London 2012 Olympic Games?

David Cameron, The Sun and The Telegraph want to see compulsive competitive games, at least two hours each and every day.

Sorry David, but you are wrong. It goes without saying The Sun is wrong. The Telegraph can go and sulk in the quad.

I can think of nothing more guaranteed to turn kids off any form of physical activity than compulsive competitive sport.

I remember Cross Country Running, and I am not talking of a few laps around the school playing field. I am speaking of the full Public School works, twice around a common that was on a hillside on a slope of a limestone escarpment. Come rain or shine, out we went, we got soaked, we got cold, we ploughed through bogs, and came back cold, wet and miserable. I do not remember a single boy, and it was only boys, who enjoyed it. I do not recall it turning out a generation of long distance or marathon runners.

The emphasis should not be on competitive sport but on getting kids active, enjoying being active.

What is wrong with salsa, yoga?

David Cameron denigrated Indian dancing. What he meant by that I do not know, but if it is what one sees in Indian films, I would have thought that would be quite active and very enjoyable.

I am not against competitive sports per se. If kids wish to participate in such sports then they should be given every encouragement, the facilities and the coaching. But that is not what we are doing.

How are we encouraging sport when we are selling off school playing fields and public parks, building on our green spaces, making it easier not harder for schools to sell off their playing fields?

One such school is Elliot School in Wandsworth where it is proposed to sell off a large part of the site to developers.

As children we played in the field behind our house, went for walks, cycle rides. In the field we created our own cricket and football pitch, we mowed the grass, levelled the pitch. I am not sure our activities went down too well with the farmer. The field is now one huge, ghastly housing estate.

Little kids are bundles of energy. They bounce around. The main problem is getting them to keep still. What then goes wrong when they become fat slobs?

It is vital we get kids active. We have a generation of fat kids who will die before their parents. It was an obscenity that Coca-Cola and McDonald’s were allowed to sponsor the London 2012 Games when we have an epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes (a disease normally associated with late middle age).

Activity itself is a necessary, but not sufficient condition, children have to learn how to eat, how to cook. Basic survival skills.

It is a pleasure when we see children like Martha Payne aka Veg (who runs the blog NeverSeconds) and my young friend Alice (who has the blog alicemck) not only taking a pleasure in cooking, but also in food.

Tending little minds is important too. Music, arts, culture.

Children have inquiring minds, again it begs the question what goes wrong to churn out brain-dead morons whose idea of food is KFC and McDonald’s, drink sports drinks, Coca-Cola, or heavily advertised lager?

Parents are to blame, though not entirely, the food industry too.

Children are having to have operations to reduce their stomach size. Children aged five and six waddling from side to side as they walk because they are too fat to walk. A child of six weighing 11 stone!

The state intervenes when children are beaten, starved. The state should intervene when children are grossly overweight.

This afternoon in a window of McDonald’s overlooking the street. One very fat woman, one very fat child, both stuffing their faces with Big Macs.

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3 Responses to “Compulsory competive games”

  1. Tony Marquis Says:

    A very interesting post that should start some lively conversation. So, my attempts to put my responses.

    Long comments so please anyonee feel free to skip this if you get easily bored.

    “David Cameron, The Sun and The Telegraph want to see compulsive competitive games, at least two hours each and every day.”

    I agree with them.

    “I remember Cross Country Running, and I am not talking of a few laps around the school playing field. I am speaking of the full Public School works, twice around a common that was on a hillside on a slope of a limestone escarpment. Come rain or shine, out we went, we got soaked, we got cold, we ploughed through bogs, and came back cold, wet and miserable.”

    I too remember this and yes, many times we returned as you state. But did we return fat or less healthy than if we had sat in a classroom? No.

    “What is wrong with salsa, yoga?”

    Nothing as forms of exercise go but for the school system surely these activities would require far greater qualifications than to take a group running?

    “How are we encouraging sport when we are selling off school playing fields and public parks, building on our green spaces, making it easier not harder for schools to sell off their playing fields?”

    100% agree with you. This is scandalous.

    “As children we played in the field behind our house, went for walks, cycle rides. In the field we created our own cricket and football pitch, we mowed the grass, levelled the pitch. I am not sure our activities went down too well with the farmer. The field is now one huge, ghastly housing estate.”

    This doesn’t happen that much these days as we tend to be over protective of our children. There isn’t really any more danger to them these days as there was when I was younger. Problem is that anything that does happen is now publicised more. We then make our own prisons for our children and don’t feel that we want them playing outside.

    “It is vital we get kids active.”

    Again 100% agreed.

    “Children have inquiring minds, again it begs the question what goes wrong to churn out brain-dead morons whose idea of food is KFC and McDonald’s, drink sports drinks, Coca-Cola, or heavily advertised lager?”

    “Parents are to blame, though not entirely, the food industry too.”

    “Children are having to have operations to reduce their stomach size. Children aged five and six waddling from side to side as they walk because they are too fat to walk. A child of six weighing 11 stone!”

    The three statements immediately above I believe can be lain firmly at the door of parents. We have children We have a responsibility to educate them. Relying on others is a recipe for disaster. The morons that you refer to and their offspring are a direct result of their parents not bothering to educate them and that is why their moronic habits are passed to their offspring.

    “The state intervenes when children are beaten, starved. The state should intervene when children are grossly overweight.”

    The basic premise of your post. Mr Cameron is proposing taking direct action which this statement appears to support but then your opening comments don’t unless I’m mistaken.

  2. keithpp Says:

    I have edited above comment to make readable, but nothing has been changed.

  3. keithpp Says:

    I am not objecting to intervention by David Cameron, I am objecting to the nature of that intervention as it will not achieve its stated aims (not that it is clear what those aims are), nor am I am objecting to competitive sport per se.

    It is true, if kids are forced to go on a long cross country run, it will be better than sitting at a desk, but the effects will not be long lasting if the kids do not enjoy what they are doing, indeed it will be counter-productive as it will turn them off any form of physical activity.

    That is why the emphasis must be on activity, not competitive sport. Of those, a percentage will be interested in competitive sport, and they should be encouraged, but they are not encouraged when the facilities are not there, when we sell of playing fields and parks.

    London 2012 Olympics will have some effect, but it will be short lived. Wimbledon gets people out playing tennis, but it does not even last the summer.

    Yes, it needs qualified and competent teachers (for salsa and yoga), but so does the competitive sport. There is no reason these teachers or coaches can not come in from outside.

    When we did cross country running, we did not have a teacher leading us. We went off on our own. But then we walked and cycled to school.

    Children are not abused by strangers (or rarely so), they are abused by family and friends of family.

    Parents abuse their children when they take them to McDonald’s, when they give them Coca-Cola to drink.

    Yes, there are moronic parents, who breed moronic children (who sadly do not stand a chance in life), but we should also recognise the power of the food lobby (and the failure of the state to intervene).

    The state will finally intervene when the Treasury steps in due to the cost to the taxpayer.

    I was at a meeting a few years ago at which senior Treasury officials were present. This was before the crash, they recognised the future health costs (in financial not human costs) of the childhood obesity crisis.

    That is why David Cameron is correct to say we must get children more active (though not in his approach), but he must equally intervene to deal with the food lobby which currently the government is running scared of.

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