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  # 891328 7-Sep-2013 15:41
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I was forced to play football in the Christmas term, rugger in the Easter term and cricket in the summer term (Northern hemisphere).

I detested each and every one, loathed being made to play with a passion. I was awful at all of them and hated everything associated with them. However, short of a hailstorm we were expected to play for 2 hours 5 days a week and watch the school teams playing at home on Saturday afternoons as well. We also had PE for 2 hours a week and athletics in the summer too.

The minute I had the option to give up I did so and aside from the odd bit of skiing and regular shooting I have never been near a sports field in the 30 or so years since.

I avoid all televised sports and genuinely managed not to see a single moment of the RWC or the Olympics.

So for me, if the kids want to do it then fine, but for some it is tantamount to waterboarding!

Mind you, I have no kids so my opinion is theoretical at best.

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  # 891344 7-Sep-2013 15:49
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insane: Sport teaches discipline, something many kids don't get taught at home in front of the TV.

The issue I have with that notion is that it contrasts significantly with reality. Sport doesn't usually foster good character - not from my experience. It would be too simplistic to blame any one individual. Elite sports kids are often bombarded with people telling them how good they are - based purely on their sporting prowess. How kids are perceived amongst their peers is a massive issue.
There's a point where developing self-confidence can transition into arrogance. I would say that point is often reached by the time many elite players start college.
The unsavory behaviour we see from a number of top sporting professionals (if you think the NRL is a bad soap opera, you should see what goes on in US college sport - let alone US pro sport) is simply a culmination of that type of thing.

What I do see as a problem is that not all sports are given the recognition they deserve. For example good BMX riders to me are just as skillful as some hotshot rugby player, but they will never get the same attention.

It's possible that could just be a numbers game?

However, touch (rugby) is meant to be one of our highest participation sports and I suspect BMX possibly gets better coverage. Then again, touch isn't an Olympic sport, plus BMX is a genuine global sport (?)

Reminds me of a player I used to coach in rugby. He was a fine player. Hard as nails. But, his number 1 sport was BMX.

that sport teaches discipline is not a notion as you claim, why dismiss what someone has posted as a notion. Sport teaches kids its not all about them (I'm talking team sports), it teaches them to to get on they need to work at things, do nothing get nothing.

You talk about elitist but its not all about them surely you can see that.

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Ultimate Geek

  # 891368 7-Sep-2013 17:05
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mattwnz: School is the only place many people will ever come in contact with playing sport, so no I don't think it should be removed. It is also a tool for physical activity as it is a motivator. Physical activity without sport is not easy to get kids to do. Sport also teach people about how to win and lose, and to communicate under pressure etc.

Curious. You got me thinking.

To be honest, I don't know if that's necessarily true so much nowadays - at least from my experience.

Teachers in the local primary schools take their classes out for some PE, which often involves running type games.

From recollection, netball and hockey (both voluntary/optional only), were the only school run sports. Rugby, football, swimming, cricket, athletics, etc were all run by local clubs.

Certainly, things change at college.

Now that I recall more clearly. The main school involvement in netball was to provide school uniforms, and possibly balls for the girls. Apart from one teacher (or possibly two), all teams were managed and coached by parents. Ditto with hockey.

So, school involvement at primary level was fairly minimal. I can remember the issue of gear, uniforms and fees were often a sore point - from a cost perspective (would've thought that was factored into the school budget though?).

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Ultimate Geek

  # 891374 7-Sep-2013 17:22
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rhy7s: Personally, I like sport when it's low key with a low barrier to entry and without a rigid us vs. them division. Growing up in a rural area, I had great fun playing soccer as my interschool 'serious' sport when it was still barefoot, with only sashes or slightly different colour under the mud T-shirts to tell teams apart. If a side was down you'd play for the other team to get everyone on the field. We had a coach who still took the game seriously but we didn't have all the extraneous equipment/clothing sideshow. On the community participation front, there used to be twilight softball or volleyball for all comers. In just having the equipment available for cricket, basketball, tennis, etc. at school we'd self-organise games - with the occasional bout of organised coaching in season. I felt this environment really normalised spontaneous play. Whereas I've often seen this drummed out of people through heavily structured sport (the same goes for most structured school subjects, spontaneous enquiry seems to fizzle out).

Yes. I believe your experience mirrors what others have told me about growing up in small(er) communities.

Maybe it's the isolation? Maybe it's the sense of community in a small town? I don't know.

Whatever it is, such communities seem to have a much healthier attitude towards inclusiveness in sport. I'm guessing that inclusiveness isn't because of sport per se, but, because of a tight-nit community culture (feel free to correct me on that one).

Once things got more serious the sense of the game actually being for the players seemed lost to me, it felt like you were just being slotted in to to a gang in service of one of many little petty fiefdoms, with an inordinate regard for pomp, pageantry and talismans.

Curious. Sounds like you went to a boarding school (?)

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Ultimate Geek

  # 891386 7-Sep-2013 17:58
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mudguard: I guess I have a slightly different perspective to this. To give some background, my father is a secondary school teacher and will be 60 this year, I am 32 and went to the same largish state school he still teaches at.
Every year since he left teachers college (late seventies I believe), he has coached the 1st XI cricket, 2nd XV rugby which he gave up 3 years ago, now he takes the 1st XI hockey which plays on a Wednesday night during winter.
Every year, for over 30 years. That's practice twice a week, and each Saturday. I spoke to him the other day and he was commenting how he wanted to move on from the cricket but will wait until he retires as there are too few teachers to take up coaching.

Your Dad deserves a medal (or something). He would have had an impact on countless boys lives.

He said that teachers coming in now will start at the school (circa 900 boys) and will laugh when they're asked if they can coach/manage a 6th XI.

Yep. That sounds familiar.

Coaching is a problem issue alright. Mind you, with all the rubbish coaches put up with these days (i.e. parents), I don't blame them.

So from my perspective I certainly enjoyed playing sport at school (though suffering the ignominy of not being selected for the first eleven until 7th form as Dad took me aside and said it would not be a good look) however I think it's a waste of a resource to insist that teachers (at state schools anyway) should have to take sports teams. To be honest, with my father, I think it's the main motivation for him to still teach!

Agreed. Teachers are either too busy, too stressed, or (usually) both.

I think the emphasis should be on teaching the basics as well as possible, retain a PE component to vent some steam, and move sport to the clubs. It works for primary schools.

I used to work with a guy from Germany. We talked about sport, and he said many people in Germany participated - it seemed a fairly high percentage of the population. Sports were facilitated via clubs - not schools. I was fascinated because of this. I think sports are state supported, and so participation costs can be relatively low - depending on the sport of course.

Edit: Forgot to mention sports clubs in the last paragraph


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  # 891391 7-Sep-2013 18:15
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Zaptor: Not the case with sports. It's only for the elite. If you don't make the cut, you don't play.

At school I enjoyed every sport I played despite having zero interest in any televised sport. It was just part of PE if I remember correctly. Rugby, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc. There were good players and not so good players but no exclusion at that level. Edit: Btw, this was 25 years ago : ). I had no interest really in interschool competitions.

So in all honestly I am struggling to understand why you would want to eliminate PE sports and what you would hope to gain by eliminating them.

I guess it's all sport and feeds into things like school representative sides which might be where you see the real problems.

There are things like advanced math and science classes in some schools which are effectively invitation only so what is the real difference between that and invitation only sports classes?

Don't get me wrong it's clear you have been contributing massively for a long time and I respect your opinion but I'm not sure I really understand yet exactly the kind of issues you have seen and why you believe that taking sport out of schools will solve them.

Edit: fixed missing line breaks.

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Ultimate Geek

  # 891419 7-Sep-2013 19:04
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jeffnz: I'm saddened that people want to once again have the state take control of things and limit access to sports in this case, have we not dumbed down our children enough over the years to a point where a lot can't function in the real world without having to rely on the tax payer to support and make decisions for them.

To be honest. I don't really see the connection between dumbing down children and limiting access to sport. Unless you're saying that kids who play sport end up being smarter? (get jobs, and are thereby less dependent on the state?)

jeffnz:  All because we want to include those that can compete but don't like elitism in sports.

Perhaps a more appropriate wording?

Myself and others have intimated that boys need sports so the know where they fit into life, we can't all be winners, top sports people etc but we can see that in sports, especially team sports, we all have a place and can contribute which sets children up for when they have to go into the real world.

As I mentioned in another reply. I'm not convinced that boys (and girls?) actually need organized sport in schools. Certainly, PE is a necessity, and that can encompass competitive elements - like sport, but where everyone participates.

I look at some of the kids coming out of school and applying for work with absolutely no idea of how they fit in and really only face a place in the dole queue or statistic, mind you if I was a cynic! then maybe I would think that some political parties would be happy with that as its their voter base.

So, you're saying that without sport these same kids would be in a worse situation?
Because, without sport no longer masking serious learning deficiencies then they'd have to actually focus on things like math and english?

To the Op, I don't think you are looking for arguments to keep sports in schools just tell everybody your thoughts, not that its wrong to do that at all.

Fair comment.

Sorry, if it seems like that. That was not my intention. I'm genuinely interested in the positive assertions for keeping sport in school.

Remember, I did say this issue is something I'm well-versed in.
Every argument/reason so far - I have heard or read already (several times).
I guess the reason I respond to all of them is because I'm trying to dig a little deeper. Am I missing the point or an underlying rationale?

I think we need to look what is instinctive in us and understand that instead of trying to change it to suit a majority.  

Again, perhaps a more accurate re-wording?

Op I still think this is more political on your part but if I'm wrong I apologise but it certainly looks like a socialist way of thinking. As far as what I am politically, you could say I'm a capitalist without capital and that I believe we need to teach our young to be responsible and able to support themselves and their decisions in life and helping those that need a hand up or can't do things for themselves. If we keep taking away choices because some think its beneficial then we will never get people standing on their on 2 feet just a lot dependent on others.

Sport wouldn't vanish at all. On the contrary, if anything moving it to a club system could (potentially) be the best thing to happen to organized sport.

Leave the sports alone, if you don't like them then opt out just don't force others to do without because you think its wrong.

Let's be sure on one thing. I don't think there are issues with sports in schools. I know there are issues, in sports in schools.


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  # 891431 7-Sep-2013 19:20
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well op all I can say is I hope you never get in a position to do what you want as you aren't right in what you say although you seem to believe you are.

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Garmin  Vivoactive 3

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  # 891456 7-Sep-2013 20:29
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Should we keep sports in schools?

Maybe if we look at problems of the current system, then from there an answer may emerge?

Competitive Sport
Club Sport
School Sport
Must win no matter the cost
Sport Stars becoming suicidal
No fun
Sport as a business
Gambling funding sport
Sport Scholarships

Maybe a different question?
What is Sport for?
- Self satisfaction?
- Goal Setting?
- Integrity?
- Honor?
- Self Discipline?
- Pure fun?
- Adrenaline?
- Financial gain?
- Team Play?
- Fitting in?
- Injuries?

If you are asking from a funding perspective, eg who pays? Then it's a different question.

I've seen school sports give some the ability to shine in running, shotput, pole volt and hammer throwing, that they would otherwise never have known about.

Did they become world champions? No, does it matter?

We are all on a journey. Who we meet, how we carried ourselves, who we inspired/empowered along the way.
It's the things and people you learn along the way that count.

If there is any school sport left then I wish it be the one below:


The best physical, strategy, sporting, political, social, leveling game ever invented (Shoes not required).

Bull Rush involves a large number of players running from one side of the field to the other and avoid being tackled by those in the middle.

It generally starts with one in the middle (more if there are time constraints).

The Political
Who to choose first to go in the middle?
- By vote (too slow).
- First to put up their hand (very quick).
- Last or first to race across the paddock.

The reason for being first in the middle is many.
- Glory (chance to take on the biggest kid in the school).
- Payback (You can try and tackle your foe first, if you fail then others may suddenly trip and join the middle, for their own reasons)
- Bad luck/good luck.
- Physically fast or slow (sometimes on purpose).

- You never know who your going to be standing with or against.
- All different rules are tried, discussed and evaluated for their fun factor.
- The whole school can be involved.

- You can be the fittest or the fattest, your in the game.
- No reason for wheelchair bound or crutches not to play.

- You can try to create teams in this game but it doesn't work.
- You can buddy up, but eventually one tires before the other and opts to be in the middle.
- You could be a thinker or a hulk the result was the same.
- Whatever happens, everyone becomes the ones in the middle. So there are no loosers.

- To go first?
- Hang behind?
- Be an outlier?
- Tackle the weaker ones first or get the toughest ones?

My experience with Bullrush the greatest game on the planet
- Touch is better than shoulders on the ground as it makes for a faster game (2 games in a lunch time).
- We made the rules no teachers involved.
- No equipment needed.
- If a rule didn't work then forget it, move on.
- A fast game was a good game.
- We knew right from wrong, there were no bullys at the school. If there were, Bullrush would bring them back down to earth.
- We never had a major injury that required more than a 5 minute sit down.
- I believe the All Blacks wouldn't be where they are without it.
- At all stages from being the first in the middle or the last one standing you are empowered by using your mind and body.
All the best.


658 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 891921 9-Sep-2013 10:11
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1080p: After a little consideration I find myself agreeing with zaptor's logic. External clubs would be much better suited to organising and maintaining competitive sporting leagues.

It seems that way (certainly with some of the shenanigans that go on at college).

I do have an intuitive disagreement, however, which I'll try to elucidate upon below.

1) Lack of exposure. Especially to smaller or less commonly engaged in sport. School is the perfect platform to expose students to a wide range of sport. Though a number of students will simply never play or enjoy sport competitively there is an even larger number who remain on or near the fence. If we move sport to an external club(s) system then a much larger number of that middle group may never experience or have an opportunity to experience a range of sport. This, I feel, would directly translate into a smaller number of students competing and may have follow on effects for potential future athletes in New Zealand. Imagine if one of the current All Blacks had never been exposed to rugby through school? I'm not sure how physical education classes work today but I don't think they have rugby as part of the curriculum. This is an example of our 'national' sport so is probably fairly unlikely but the problem would be magnified, for example, in many smaller sporting codes. The problem would be magnified even further for families who have financial constraints on them because external clubs would be forced to impose higher costs on members which leads to my next point...

From my experience, the lack of exposure to any sport is debatable as parents just sign their kids up during primary school. The sports certainly weren't pushed, or even practised during PE time (although, I remember someone was trying to push T-ball through the schools - that died out fairly quickly).

Every sports body is wanting kids to play their sport, and they try to recruit as many as they can get. Schools will allow an entry/advertisement in the school notice, but that's about it. I know teachers don't go out of their way to promote a specific sport. Whether that's a school or ministry of ed policy - I don't know.

However, certain sports will be allowed (during class time) - for a short period, but usually because it's in preparation for some annual tournament. But, that's it.

If my experience is anything to go by, primary school teachers love inclusion. That's why a lot of the games they get their kids playing during outside/PE time are geared towards full participation.
Primary school teachers do not like physical activities that exclude children - not one iota.

Even with netball, hockey (participation very low), and touch it was just run by parents.

So, assuming primary school isn't necessarily an entry point to sports, then what about college?
Well, by college time kids have a fairly good idea of how "sporty" they are (or least how they're preceived by their peers). So the trick is to convince teens to stay in a sport they'd been playing during their primary years (assuming they were still playing by the time they hit college), let alone pick up a completely new sport.
With team sports in particular, it can be a very hard sell. Colleges don't always help the situation by restricting (i.e. cutting) player numbers for certain sports (possibly due to financial and/or logistical reasons). A common gripe I've heard from college parents is they want their kids to play a sport, but, it's difficult for their child to get into one.

Not sure if the cost thing would be such a major issue. Not saying there isn't a financial burden associated with sport, but, I find any significant money is always funneled into the top (elite) end of a sport. Which is sort of the point I am alluding too - the elite minority are the ones who benefit, not the majority.
Of course, private/boarding schools operate on a different philosophy, so if you really want your child playing sport sending them to one of those institutions should ensure they play something. But, elitism certainly exists there also, but at least everyone can participate. Although, to what degree and how well they're supported can depend on their status.

658 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 891965 9-Sep-2013 10:52
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2) Lack of resources. I'm not sure how high school is today with regard to sporting teams but when I attended there was a large amount of volunteering from staff at the school. If I remember correctly our school had ~30 rugby teams, 20-30 football teams as well as dozens of teams in many other codes of sport (hockey, basketball, netball, etc...). These are just the 'mainstream' codes, we had a huge range of smaller codes as well. Just the staff time resource alone would be an astronomical cost to any club that would likely have to pay coaches and support staff. This would most likely be passed on to the club members and, unfortunately, make sport an activity that would preclude many students with families that did not have the required financial resources. The solution, of course, would be to take any subsidy schools receive and give it to the clubs instead but considering (at least in my time) that much of the cost was offset through volunteering and fundraising there would likely not be much money to pass on and it would negate on of the points of this exercise in the OP.

Your (old) school would be the exception - not the norm. As I mentioned in another earlier reply, applying the private/boarding school model to all state schools would be a massive undertaking.

I know private schools (in particular) provide a greater range of other activities in addition to sport. But, you pay for that.
I think (I could be wrong - anyone correct me), even boarding schools charge/require additional costs that aren't seen in your average state school.

Sports does cost money. Some sports cost more than others, and you are bang on regarding the volunteering.

However, parents are more than happy to fund (even if it's a heavy burden - they find the money) their kids sports. Parents will do an awful lot for their children. This includes volunteering, particularly if it means their kid gets to play a sport they enjoy (the emphasis being on enjoy).
Parents don't like subsidizing elite athletes who aren't their own kids.

I think you may be surprised how much money the government really sets aside for sports as a public good. It's certainly not loose change. The money basically goes into funding elite sport. Sure, it might get distributed to sporting bodies for them to administer appropriately. But, those bodies just pump the money into the top end. Perhaps a few token gestures here and there for the grass roots, but it's earmarked for the elite.

If we applied open/free market theory to sports from a participation perspective, and reflected that as a budgeting exercise, I think you'd find that the majority of the money would go towards primary school level sport - not the way it is at the moment.

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Ultimate Geek

  # 891986 9-Sep-2013 11:24
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1080p: Sport has been played in schools for some time now and due to that most have sports facilities on their premises. These could be easily rented to private clubs but you could not reasonably expect schools to rent them to clubs for below market rates as the schools wold need to maintain them so that would also increase the cost passed to families. In addition, in many towns around New Zealand, the only sporting ground/pool is at the school which would mean there would be no other option for private clubs.

There's not many schools in my area that can afford to maintain a pool. Probably why they got rid of them.
Pools probably aren't a good example. They always lose money. The only group that seem to be making a success of managing pools is CLM. But, I know that CLM actually make their money from learn-to-swim classes, since schools no longer teach swimming (effectively). Personally, I don't think CLM really teaches kids how to swim anyway. Perhaps well enough for it to be useful in the odd emergency situation (maybe?). If they really want to learn - join a club for a season or two.
Even with public/council pools - which as I said earlier, lose money - you still get issues with clubs (kayak, swim) wanting more access to them for training and meets. Which is a contentious issue since everybody pays rates, and not everyone wants to be part of a club just to use the public pool. Plus the money clubs pay for access to pools isn't a always a true reflection of the cost of maintaining the pool during the hire period anyway.

Anyway, from my own experience, I just don't think money would be a major issue.

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  # 891987 9-Sep-2013 11:25
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Zaptor please don't substitute the words I posted with what you think it should be otherwise I'll do the same. It may not reflect your opinion and given you haven't linked to any facts I'd appreciate if you left my posts as is

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Garmin  Vivoactive 3

658 posts

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  # 892012 9-Sep-2013 12:10
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1080p: 3) 'intuition'. In addition to my (sort of) logical reasoning I have a gut feeling that removing competition in sport from school would be a bad thing. It is a hard thing to put into words but I feel like there were many cascading advantages to enjoying sport in school. For one I was able to enjoy them with people who were already my friends and that I was able to see outside of a sport club regularly too. I don't think the social aspect of competitive sport can be overestimated.

I agree that sport has many positives, of which I've seen at club level. I don't believe that would disappear if sport were moved away from colleges.

If anything, I'd propose that it in some ways, move to a club system has more advantages. I know at a certain boys college (this is possibly reflective of all private/boarding schools), there are restrictions on how many (and what) sports a student can participate in. Although there is choice, it's basically at the discretion of the school. For example, what's wrong with wanting to play both soccer and rugby (if the games and trainings don't clash)?

I was able to experience a wider range of sport than I imagined even existed. I had never even heard of water polo before high school but when my physical education teacher mentioned it to us thanks to volunteer teachers we were able to put together a school team and went to the national championships (we were thoroughly smashed but it was a hell of a lot of fun). That would be entirely possible through a club too but I know that I, for one, would have been unlikely to join an external swimming club to try out water polo.

Interesting question. To be honest, I don't know if visibility/access to a wider range of sports would really be curtailed.

Currently, with the school system, sports can (or are) locked out. Like in the old days when you had to play rugby, and woby-tide if the school found out you played league for the local club (big slap on the wrist). Obviously, modern day private/boarding schools provide a better choice than previously. Although, I can't help but wonder if some sports have - shall we say - more "persuasive" powers than others.

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Ultimate Geek

  # 892028 9-Sep-2013 12:38
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Hammerer: I agree with those who see sports as a microcosm of the social setting.

I needed as much physical exercise as I could get at school. It disappoints me that I'm still physically more able than all my kids probably because they have had a lot less sport and physical exercise during their childhood.

If I replaced sports with anything it would be interpretive dance.

Hehe... nice

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