My own memories of sports day were of the 100m race etc the elite performing but with the winner already being known as the events had been practiced numerous times, Even as a PE teacher myself the sports day seemed to focus around the elite athletics performance, even though I did try a few variations around Olympic ideas and taking part.
Max’s sports day was a breath of fresh air. Students from Chepstow Comprehensive were being used in their sports leaders capacity. Each leader was in charge of an activity, running, jumping, throwing events were all included, 25 in total and Max was given points based on how well he did at each event. He was encouraged to try his hardest to get the biggest points but at no point was he discouraged because he knew that someone was better than him. He still was competitive as he shared his scores with his friends but at no point did he have to be seen as not doing well.
Now I agree that there is a need for competition and that failure or coming last should be embraced as a learning experience, but for a 5 year old, he just needed to be active and part of the event. He has at times been put of sport due to the heavy handed coaching and this sports day really helped him reengage and see the benefits of activity.
I think as a PE teacher it is important to recognise the impact that events can have on all pupils, you can engage as many as you disengage if you do not think about all participants.