We often hear that the future of sport in this country depends on schools giving children the opportunity to play different games. Inter-school sport, too, is seen as being particularly important in a child's sporting development. As a primary teacher who puts in many, unpaid, hours each year to provide this facility, imagine how I felt when a couple of days before a prestigious schools tournament, I was told by the mother of our "star" player that she wasn't happy about her son playing three 15-minute games (this being the format of the competition) as he had a league match that evening for his club and it was too much for him.
While I congratulate her for taking a responsibility in terms of the number of games he plays I do find it sad that school football now seems relegated to a second division status by the Sunday morning clubs who, judging by the children who play for these teams, are teaching attitudes that are fine in the "win at all costs" environment of the premiership but will not serve them well in enjoying a lifetime of more modest sporting endeavour.
Clearly clubs do have plenty to offer and I accept that those involved give plenty of time and energy but clubs should complement rather than replace the role of schools.
Obviously there are plenty of ifs and buts in this argument, the obvious being that some schools do not, for whatever reason, offer adequate provision and children, wishing to play, have to look elsewhere.
If possible, however, let's see the emphasis placed on school sport encouraging children to play in the right way and with the right attitude. Playing for the school needs, once more, to be seen as an honour and not just as practice for the weekend.
6 Cromwell Drive