It all started a few months ago when I first heard about this event called Field Days. In my mind it sounded like the old participation days from my elementary school years… remember when they graded students on their physical abilities? It didn’t sound like Field Days was being graded, but it did sound like a few days of physical activity.
As we got closer to Field Days, I would get glimpses of excitement that did not fit my mental picture. I over heard students having meetings to plan out their cheers. I saw teachers promoting their team color (everyone is divided into 3 teams, red, yellow and green… the Bolivian flag colors). I saw students practicing for long distance races or jumping events.
The week leading up to Field Days saw the soccer field transform with lines and tents, speakers and tables. There was no doubt that something big was about to come!
Over the weekend before field days, several students/parents/teachers came out and banners and posters sprung up everywhere.
Finally the big day arrived! I left my house and as I rounded the corner of the school I came across a scene that stopped me. The place was a buzz with excitement and energy. People were everywhere… from parents staking out their spot along the field with picnic blankets to sound system checks to students dressed in team colors and practicing cheers. This. Was. Awesome. And it didn’t even start yet!
For two full days there was races, ball throws, high jump, long jump, running jump… and almost non-stop cheering! I had signed up as a timer for the races and was impressed at the level of competition mixed with fun that was displayed by all the students.
This made me think. I know in the past people had criticised things like Participation Days in Canada because it “labeled” kids and at times may have been used to bully those who were less physically fit. Maybe this was fair criticism, but the reality is that we are living in (my context being Canada) a generation where obesity is a real health concern for children. Taking something like field days… and day of fun and friends and a lot of fresh air… might be a great way to get kids active again by seeing the joy friendly competition can bring. I admit that field days did have some tears from those who did not win (one of my children fell in that category), but their take away from the day was not the loss but the fun he had.
Maybe the time has come to rethink ways to get and keep our kids physically active again.
On a side note, after field days was done guess what my kids did? They went out in the back yard with friends and re-lived many of the competitions. Good Stuff.
I captured some of the day and put it in a video.
btw, Go Green Go!