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Dealing with disappointment

by Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To explore our responses to sporting disappointment.

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly is suitable for general use or can be used as a response to national or local sporting disappointment.
  • Prepare two sets of key words:
    – upset, useless, angry, ashamed
    – think, remember, change, support
    and have the means to display them clearly and appropriately – perhaps in team colours, with a national flag or drawn from a kit bag. This assembly was originally a response to England’s elimination from European and World Football Tournaments and the key words were displayed on the four quarters of an image of the St George’s Flag.

Assembly

  1. If the assembly is being used as a response to a specific sporting disappointment, refer to the events reported in the news. Reflect on the feelings of the athletes or players involved and their supporters.

  2. Alternatively, invite the children to consider one or both of the following scenarios. How would they feel?

    – Imagine that you are a runner. You are one of the best runners in the UK and so won a place on the Olympic Team. You’ve spent the past year preparing for your event, but, just before the Games, you injured yourself in training. The race has just ended. You took part, but, due to your injury, had to drop out before the end. This was the experience of Paula Radcliffe, long distance runner, during the 2004 Olympic Games.

    – Imagine that you are in a Premier League football team. You’ve had a great season and are second in the League. Your team has also won a place in the final of the FA Cup. Everybody expects that you will win. The opposition team is at the bottom of the League. At full-time the score is still 0–0. Then, a few seconds into stoppage time, the other side scores a goal. Shortly afterwards, the referee blows the final whistle and you realize your team’s been beaten.

    This was the experience of Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup Final.

  3. Sum up the discussion, producing the first set of key words. Disappointment can leave us feeling:

    upset – when we lose something we want very much indeed, naturally we feel unhappy and tearful 
    angry – we look for other people to blame or blame ourselves
    useless – we may be tempted to give in, thinking that we will never succeed
    ashamed – we may worry what other people think of us.

  4. Invite the children to consider how those concerned might deal with this disappointment. Produce the second set of key words:

    think – although it is painful, we have to face up to our disappointments and try to learn from them
    remember – we can find encouragement in remembering our strengths – it’s a mistake to think only of our mistakes when we know that we can do so many things well
    change – when we have not succeeded, we must establish new aims and goals and may need to try a different approach
    support – teamwork is important – we all need support and understanding (not unfriendly criticism) if we are to deal with disappointment. 

    Will supporters continue to encourage the athlete or team?

  5. Conclude that the many different disappointments we experience needn’t destroy us. Learning to deal with disappointment can help us to become stronger people. Invite the children to listen to how Paul wrote about his difficulties and disappointments (in 2 Corinthians 4.8–9 and 16, gnb):

    We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed . . . For this reason we never become discouraged.

Time for reflection

Prayer
Lord God,  
When we feel fed up and discouraged,
give us the insights and strength we need 
to deal with disappointment.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Together’ (Songs for Every Occasion, Out of the Ark Music, 2002)
‘Give us hope, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 87)

Publication date: June 2014   (Vol.16 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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