Traditions, Values and Young People

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Germany: Introducing New Sports to Younger People

 

climbing a tower of beer crates
© Sebastian Wüstefeld, www.gustav-ghs.de

Getting students interested in sports is one of the important tasks of physical education in schools. It would be even better if the students could be motivated to join sports clubs.

This is where Sports Finder Day comes in. Sponsored by a German food manufacturer, it is a one-day festival which was held at our school - the school in Mülheim, Germany - for the first time in June 2009.

All over the school grounds, seventy-five different sports were presented to the students. They ranged from games to adventure sports, from various kinds of exercise to team tasks. The students who participated – all of our Years 5 to 10 – tried out 2 offers as a class and were free to look at all others individually. Students from Years 11 and 12 as well as the teachers took part as helpers at the various stations.

Students who had successfully tried out sports received a stamp on a control slip. When they had earned enough of them, they were able to exchange them for healthy food.

Sports Finder Day is a successful way of making students familiar with various kinds of sports in an entertaining way and thus to improve the students' health and fitness.

 

dragon boats
© Sebastian Wüstefeld, www.gustav-ghs.de

 

Dragon boat races are a relatively new phenomenon in Germany, but they have become popular events and are now held in a number of cities. Dragon boats are a tradition that comes from China, but dragon boat racing is now a popular sport in some parts of Europe.

A dragon boat is a large canoe. There are paddlers – at least ten, but there can be up to fifty – who sit in rows of two, facing forwards. Each one has a paddle. Behind the paddlers is a sweep, that is a person who steers the boat and makes sure that it does not zig-zag through the water but goes in a straight line. At the front of the boat, there is a drummer who sits facing the paddlers. The rhythm of the paddling is set by the two paddlers in the front row, but the drummer takes up their rhythm and drums it so that the other paddlers do their paddle strokes at the same time as the front ones.

Mülheim had its thirteenth dragon boat festival in 2009, with 150 teams competing. There were five different cups to be won. Our school had three boats in the race: one manned by the students, another one with teachers and finally a parents' boat. In 2009, the parents were most successful – they won the third prize in one of the cups. The festival included a big fete, live music and fireworks at the end.