COMPETING DISORDERS

WHY ATS SCHOOLS REQUIRE ALL PUPILS TO PLAY SPORT AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO DO SPORT WELL

Many of us may share Mark Twain’s view of life when he said: “The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” A lot of us do not think too much about what we eat and just rely on our body dealing with it. Others, however, do take care over what and how they eat.

There are certain things that are important to realise about eating. Eating is, of course, necessary. It helps us to survive. Eating is also, despite warnings all over the media, good for us. It helps us to grow. Those points are obvious and clear. While eating is both good and necessary, we need also to remember a number of more specific points.

  • We need to eat the right food; some food can make us sick. A baby needs to have ‘milk’, then ‘soft’ food, but as we grow older we can eat more solid food. A young child cannot cope with steak, unless it is chopped up into tiny pieces.
  • We need to eat in the right amount; too much can make us sick – too little can make us weak. Both can affect us badly. Anorexia or obesity – neither is desirable.
  • We need to eat with the right balance; we need to balance the vitamins, the calories, the proteins, the carbohydrates, the fats.
  • We need to eat at the right pace; not eat food too quickly or we will suffer indigestion.
  • We need to eat for the right reason; not for how we look or appear but for our well-being.
    Eating food proves nothing about our being. Our worth or significance is not dependent on what we eat, how we eat or how well we eat. We do not eat to prove anything or to show how good we are.
  • We need to eat at the right time; not skip breakfast, not eat last thing night. We need to eat every day, throughout the day.

If we follow those patterns, as opposed to Mark Twain’s theory, we will eat healthily.

Of course, our eating is only good for us if it is healthy. If we eat inappropriately and unhealthily, our body is more prone to disease, infection, fatigue, bad blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, depression and poor performance. Children with a poor diet run the risk of growth and developmental problems. Bad eating habits can continue for the rest of their lives. Eating disorders can be a serious problem.

The real purpose of this article is not to discuss our eating habits; it is to discuss our competing habits. For just as eating disorders can be a serious problem, so too can our competing disorders affect us badly. Consider, if you will, therefore, what would happen if we simply expand the word ‘eat’ in all the above examples to the word ‘compete’ – see how important it is that we compete healthily.

Competing is necessary. It helps us to survive. Competing is also, despite warnings all over the media, good for us. It helps us to grow. Those points are obvious and clear. While eating is both good and necessary, we need also to remember a number of more specific points.

  • We need to compete at the right level; some competition can make us sick. A youngster needs to have fun, then development, but as we grow older we can compete at a more solid level. A young child cannot cope with serious competing, unless it is chopped up into tiny pieces.
  • We need to compete in the right amount; too much can make us aggressive but too little can make us unprepared. Both can affect us badly. Neither arrogance nor uncertainty is desirable.
  • We need to compete with the right balance; we need to balance the victories, the challenges, the pressure, the cardio workouts, the failures. We need to have plenty of values in our competing, plenty of effort, some risk, some focus and vision, just a small amount of reward (sweetener).
  • We need to compete at the right pace; if we compete too quickly or too early, we will face burnout.
  • We need to compete for the right reason; it is not about how we will look (in appearance or status) but about how we will cope.Competing proves nothing about our being. Our worth or significance is not dependent on who we compete against, how we compete or how well we compete.We do not compete to prove anything or to show how good we are.
  • We need to compete at the right time; we must not skip easy competition, nor compete when we are exhausted but rather we need to compete regularly.

If we follow those patterns we will compete healthily.

Of course, our competing is only good for us if it is healthy. If we compete inappropriately, our body is more prone to fatigue, bad blood pressure, emotional problems, depression and poor performance. Children with the wrong competition run the risk of growth and developmental problems. Bad competing habits can continue for the rest of their lives.

The matter of eating disorders is a serious issue but the matter of competing disorders is equally serious. We must compete well. We must help our pupils to be competitive but in a healthy manner. If we do not know how to compete or what to compete in, we will not survive in the world. It is a competitive world, just as it is a world of food. So we must prepare them. Being competitive is not about winning all the time – it is about competing – testing, stretching, striving – so that we grow and improve (not impress). That is why schools require pupils to play competitive sport. These are lessons that are not taught in the classroom in the mornings but they are taught powerfully on the sports fields in the afternoons.