You’ll never guess what schools are doing to calm competitive parents on sports day

Whatever happened to the jolly egg and spoon race where everyone's a winner?


Now those of you who have school age kids might have been to a few sports days here and there; those oh-so enjoyable events when you get to stand (usually in the pouring rain) and watch your little darling pit their sporting prowess against their peers.


But how’s this for ramping up the stakes? Around 150 schools in Australia have got so fed up with the arguments that go on between parents disputing which of their kids won various races through the day they’ve spent hundreds of Australian dollars on electronic gates to precision-calculate race times.

Kids run through the gates at the end of a race to ensure an accurate indication of who’s won.

They cost just under Aus$400 to hire for the day, but schools have said due to lack of staff to monitor races, and to avoid ‘ugly parent syndrome’ –  where parents get in to right royal arguments over who’s won – they’ve decided to fork out.

While the VERY competitive parents are no doubt delighted about the measures others, including Kylie Kato, President of the Western Australia Council of State School Organisations isn’t so sure:

“I vividly remember being at school sports days, and then generally when your own kids are running you get the joy of standing back and watching,” she said.

“Then you’d jump in and you’d be the finishing marshal or height scorer or whatever it might be.  

The joy on those little kids’ faces running towards the finishing line, that ‘Yay, I’ve actually completed’ look – I’m sure they’d much rather see the friendly faces of a parent standing there than an electronic finishing gate. School communities should be about better values than that.

It’s a bit of a sad reflection on our times.”

We’re SO with on you this one, Kylie…

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