At son number two's nursery each child was handed a golden medal at the end of the day, no matter if they had performed as well as an Olympic hopeful, or as abysmally as a teetotaller in a drinking game. How are our children supposed to understand the point of competitive sport, when the whole point of it - winning - is expunged from it?
As the fastest boy in the class powers over the finish line, arms held aloft as he yells 'I'm the winner', a teacher swiftly moves in to gently remind him that 'There are no winners, it's just a bit of fun'. Does that really make the boy at the back of the pack feel any better, or just taint the victor's joy as he feels reprimanded for celebrating his win?
Schools are happy to celebrate achievement in other realms - come top of the class in maths or reading and you'll be rewarded, what's so different about the sports field? And what sort of message does this send out to the kids who might not be so hot in the classroom, but are smoking on the track?
It's as valid a profession and achievement to excel at sports. Indeed those pretty young WAGs aren't tarting themselves up to win the heart of an accountant or lawyer, instead they want to snare the ultimate prize; a professional footballer. Who cares if he may not be able to add up how much he earns, his prowess with a ball trumps any amount of zeros a good education can add to your salary. *
I am not suggesting that being good at sports is a reason not to try in the classroom, but it seems unfair that those children who excel physically are not heaped with praise in the same way as those who impress academically.
I know when I was young I was always the last to be picked by any team, having the co-ordination of a Parkinson's sufferer and the speed of a sloth. Yes, it was humiliating, but it just made beating those sporty girls in a spelling test that much sweeter.
What is the worse of two evils? To reduce all our expectations to the lowest common denominator - to allow those who fail to dictate how we treat those who triumph? Or to encourage our children to revel in their victories wherever they take place?
I suspect that the modern 'Everyone's a winner' school of thought actually means we all lose out.
*Note that I DON'T want my boys to end up with WAGs and am, as such, relieved that so far they show much more promise off the school field than on it. Phew.