Go soft on sport

14th March 2003 at 00:00
How the late John Betjeman would have shuddered had he read Roger Draper's call for more competitive sport in schools (page 12). Betjeman's schooldays were plagued by "the dread of beatingsdread of being lateAnd, greatest dread of all, the dread of games".

The chief executive of Sport England obviously cannot relate to scaredy-cats like the former poet laureate who whimper about cut knees.

Young people want competitive sport, he says. So schools should provide it.

His argument has some merit because most children are naturally competitive. But Mr Draper's statement - "For me, school is where sport begins and ends" - could have been better-worded.

Unfortunately, children's interest in sport often does end in school, with damaging consequences for their future health. That is why schools must go on offering supposedly "soft" alternative sports such as trampolining for those who hate games.

The rugger-buggers will scoff. But who cares?

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