Talk to anyone I knew in high school and, really, anyone who knows me now and it’s not difficult

Ask anyone who knows me to describe me and I can almost guarantee that “athletic” is not going to be on their list of descriptors. My relationship with sports has neverbeen strong and memories of being picked on and picked last in P.E. are most salient. I stopped taking P.E. as soon as it was not mandatory and took a long break from sports. It was much later in my adult life that I began to enjoy sports again – playing ultimate frisbee in university, running 10k’s and half marathons, hiking and kayaking. While on maternity leave, I tried my first group fitness class at the local community center and last year, began my initiation into the world of commuting by bike.

When most people think of sports, they usually mean team sports. The thought of joining a sports team, even in a pick-up game at social events, fills me with a sense of foreboding and terror. Even at a recreational level, I can imagine how I am more of a liability than an assetto my team, that perhaps the best thing I could do for the good of my team is to sit the same out. One of the advantages of team sports, they say, is social; For me, it was just an opportunity for social anxiety,

Perhaps it is due to this lack of confidence that I was determined to start my kid off early in sports and how I came across the program of Sportball. The toddler programis a non-competitive introduction to foundation skills in a variety of sports. It wasn’t long before my then two-year old daughter began walking around with her own whistle and calling herself coach and reciting the Sportball cheer:

Life is good.
Life is fun.
We played (insert sport) and we’re number one!

At one session, one of the children, after cheering with the rest of the group added, “I’m number two!”

It’s an interesting comment, for while the Sportball program carries a great message and embodies what I think sport should be: a fun way to enjoy life, it is largely a participation-based program and focusses on skill development, it is very much a precursor to more competitive type of recreation that I’m not sure I want to get my children started in.

Am I just a sore loser? From an education perspective, one often hears how academic competition takes away from the true purpose of instilling a passion for learning. Does competition inherent in team sports take away the purpose of physical education programs to create an interest in developing a healthy and active habits and lifestyles?