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Winning, losing and taking part

Encourages children to think about winning and losing, but especially about the benefits of taking part.

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

Encourages children to think about winning and losing, but especially about the benefits of taking part.

Preparation and materials

  • Ask four children to take part reading the lines.
  • Opportunities for props throughout.

Assembly

  1. This assembly is all about games. There are so many games that we love to watch or play. Ask the children to turn to the person sitting next to them and see how many different sports you can come up with together (allow a minute for this).

    There’s running and swimming; karate, golf, and football, of course; cycling and skiing; archery, tag rugby and tennis. I’m sure you have come up with many more.

    (You could make this more interesting by having a bag of sports equipment and asking the children to guess the sports as you pull the items out of the bag.)
  2. We love playing electronic games too. Ask the children to turn to the person sitting next to them and tell them about their top three favourite electronic games (allow a minute for this).

    I can tell by all the excited chatter that you have loads of electronic games that you like.
  3. And we all play board games, especially at Christmas. Ask the children to turn to the person sitting next to them and tell them about the last board game that they played (allow a minute for this). Board games can be great fun for all the family.
  4. However, when people play games, most people love winning and most people hate losing.

    Child 1:  I like doing gymnastics. When I can’t do it well, I feel as sad as a rainy day. But when I manage to do something that I haven’t done before, I feel amazing and so proud of myself.

    Child 2:  (holding a PS2 controller) I like playing on quad biking on my PS2. It’s frustrating when I lose a level and I get really angry. When I win, I feel like a champion.

    Child 3:  (kicking a football) I like playing football, even if I lose, because I get to see all my friends. When we win a match, it’s the best feeling in the world and I smile for the rest of the day. When we lose, it’s not so good and I feel more tired and cold and miserable.

    Child 4:  (holding some UNO cards) I like playing UNO with my family. It’s so exciting to get all your cards out and be the winner. I don’t win very often but when I do, I feel fantastic! I cheer and dance around and all my family laugh at me!
  5. Winning is great, but when winning becomes the most important factor, then things start to go wrong. Some people go to extraordinary lengths to win.

    Some sports people have resorted to cheating to make sure that they win. A handball in football, taking drugs in athletics, faking an injury in rugby – these are all examples of cheating. Winning by cheating is not winning at all.

    Sometimes people get so angry when they are not winning that they abuse the opposition, both physically and verbally. Players deliberately hurt players on the other team so that they cannot play as well. Fans shout rude things at the other team to distract them and put them off.

    Players sometimes treat the referee unfairly. They blame the referee if they are not winning. They question the referee’s decisions and do not treat him or her with respect.

    Is winning the most important thing? Does it feel good to win even if you have done the wrong thing to gain victory?
  6. Playing games is not just about winning. There are lots of reasons to play games. (Children could contribute other reasons in addition to those below.)

    Games are lots of fun. Taking part in games is a great way to make friends. Games make us laugh and make us feel excited.

    Games teach you how to co-operate with each other. We learn how to take turns and respect each other. We can encourage each other and praise each other when we do something good.

    Playing games lets you try something different. Trying new sports helps you to see what you are good at and what you enjoy. You would never get bored if you were prepared to have a go at every new sport that you had the opportunity to try!

    Games help you to get fit, and being healthy is really important. Eating healthily and doing regular exercise will help you to be fit and strong.

    Taking part in a game can make you feel proud. It can give you a sense of achievement.

Time for reflection

Listen to these words and think about what they mean for you.

Let us give thanks for all the sports that we play.

Let us give thanks for all the sports that we watch.

Let us give thanks for all the electronic games and board games that we enjoy.

Playing games is such fun.

Winning can be the best feeling in the world.

But winning is not all-important.

Let us try to be good team players on every occasion – to co-operate, to take turns, to respect, to encourage, to praise.

Let us play.

Song/music

‘There are hundreds of sparrows’ (Come and Praise, 15)

Publication date: June 2010   (Vol.12 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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