Know Sports, Know Life. No Sports, No Life

Being a sportsperson, I can completely relate to the above phrase. It’s hard for me to imagine my life without sports. For me, life without sport would be similar to fish without water. It is not only limited up to playing, participating and winning various games or tournaments, it’s an emotion, it is a passion that works as a driving force and helps you to give your best, it is an addiction that remains with a player forever. It is a turmoil of greatest heights to deepest trenches and a path from those deep trenches to the highest heights ever. Apart from fitness and physical strength, it is responsible for an individual’s personality and mental toughness. It plays a major role in building the character of a child.

Sport is as important as academic studies for children. Participating in athletics improves the cognitive and memory functions of the brain, it increases focus and concentration helping kids perform better in tests and academics. It has a lot of positive effects on mental health. It increases mental abilities, including critical thinking, learning and using good judgment. It reduces stress, anxiety and depression and enhances one’s self-esteem.

Sports and academic studies are like two faces of the same coin. Both are important and inevitable. Sports is nothing but a lesson, a teaching in itself for life.  There is no doubt that it is promoted a lot in India nowadays, but parents are worried for their child’s future and want them to study hard and get into a nice job have a good to go the life and the hard fact that even today majority of parents are reluctant about their child picking up the sport over studies for their career is undeniable. This is a major and serious factor. At times, it becomes important that a child should be supported to excel in sports and discover oneself. The will to win, acceptance to losses, to face failures, to make comebacks is something with sport teaches. These lessons are surely not in any textbook or they’re not taught in a classroom.

Talking about what you learn from sport, it’s limitless. Patience, self-respect, integrity, leadership, and when the situation demands even to follow one who is leading, teamwork, mutual respect for teammates and opponents, decision making power in toughest situations, perseverance, endurance (remember no pain, no gain), discipline, sportsman’s spirit and commitment. In the practical world, people talk about time and schedule management. Players are best when it comes to balancing most hectic and chaotic routines. At a very young age, they manage many tasks. From classroom tests, submissions, to maintain results according to parents’ demands and to perform out on the field, they do it with ease and pleasure. Athletes have exemplary work ethics. This work ethic is carried in life because the only way to grab success and to break records overcoming the odds is to work not only when your opponents are awake but also when they are asleep.

Sport inculcates a positive attitude in an individual. Adversity plays a huge part in sports. Getting dropped down from a team as a result of politics, getting injured at a point when you are performing best and at times not being able to play, or losing your spot in the team lineup because, at a given instance, someone else proves better than you, everything is a part of the game. You cannot make excuse. Whatever is the adversity and no matter how it presents itself, sports teach us to bounce back vigorously and victoriously than before. Even though situations are not under our control, nothing falls in place, things aren’t in your way and then your confidence is at an all-time low level, being able to smile, to maintain calm amidst the terrible storm is something tough to do. This is one of the qualities of a successful sportsperson.

Being selfless is all about giving something to someone with the expectation of nothing in return. Being a good teammate, giving your best effort to your coach, to your team despite how tired you are, having a positive attitude even if you’re faced with hardships and cheering on your teammates despite battling for that same spot, encouraging your junior to do better than you without having any resentment are all part of being selfless. You learn to do things for the betterment of the team even if it means sacrificing personal success. Being a good human being, at the end of the day, is one of the best things that sports teaches us because when we walk out of the arena into the world, we cannot take our jersey with us, neither our trophies, nor the records we set and broke, but we can take with us the lessons that sports have given us.

Sports binds people together and offers an identity at world levels. It is an emotion through which we experience and express our nationalism. The teams or the individual who plays at a national or international level do not represent caste or religion but they represent their Country. When a team or individual is out there on the ground representing the Nation, India and Indians from across the globe together forgetting everything hope and pray for their success. Sportspersons from across the country come together and build a team. Irrespective of caste, language, religion, state, tradition and culture they struggle like a family, fight together like brothers and sisters and win the championship to bring unparalleled glory to our Nation. Budding players always have a dream of representing their country. After giving years of life to the game, when they represent India at the international level, and win the championship, along with that player, the Nation cries tears of happiness and pride when the tricolor goes up during the National Anthem.

These are the reasons why sport should make a remarkable part in student’s life and they should be pushed to some of the other sorts of sport, even if they don’t want to, it should be introduced like an academic subject they study even if they don’t like it. That’s because it will help them ahead in their practical life. When you play tournaments or championships, you win some or you lose some and then what matters the most is how do one reacts to the results. After winning, it’s important to remain down to earth and to be influenced by that victory no matter how grand or big it matters to you. As far as losing is concerned, I don’t feel that you lose, in fact you learn when you don’t win. Because, in general, there are two reasons for losing a game: either you’ve made a mistake or your opponent was far much better than you. In both cases, it’s important for a player not to get demoralized and to get out of it, to learn from mistakes, to get up, to struggle, fight, conquer, win and celebrate. The same applies with life, one cannot get bogged down by the losses, you need to look up and take things in stride. Accepting shortcomings is very important. So, it needs to be a part of the school curriculum and it should be followed with the same discipline as academics are followed.

Another aspect is sports is not completely reliable on the money. I’ve seen people often confuse that sport is all about money and it is something meant for kids from rich families. Well, if that was the case, India won’t produce Hima Das, Sachin Tendulkar, Ravindra Jadeja, M.S. Dhoni, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Mary Kom, Milkha Singh, and the list is of course unending. The making of a player is a process. It is a sort of long-term investment and doesn’t happen overnight. Money is an aspect, but what sport requires the most is discipline, sincerity, commitment, dedication towards your game, sacrifices, and endurance.

The phrase “where there is a will, there is a way” is proved here. So, to turn your back to sports making an excuse for money cannot be justified. Furthermore, it’s not necessary for everyone to have a professional career. What’s needed is to go out and play to develop a particular attitude or sportsman’s spirit they say which would be helpful in life ahead. It teaches you to conduct yourself be it any loss or win. It’s not similar to an exam which is given, results are out after somedays and you can predict what you need to do, unlike sports which demands years of commitment, patience and hard work.

There are numerous programs and initiatives taken up by the government to promote sports. Initiatives like Khelo India taken ahead as Khelo India youth games, Khelo India University Games are on a move. The Central government in Union Budget allocated Rs. 2,596.14 crore to sports. Programs like National Sports Talent Contest Scheme, SAI Training Centre scheme, etc. are successful in bringing up a lot of talented players. And as a result of this, positive transformation is observed in Indian Sport. It is going through the recognition and establishment of young talents at the grass root level. Various scholarships, awards for encouragement and job opportunities are provided by the government.

Above all, let kids move out and play, don’t restrict them. Don’t pressurize your kids, don’t force them to quit their game when they’re at the peak in name of education. There are cases of players dropping out even when they’re performing exceptionally well at National levels. Such actions would result into not so good outcomes. It badly affects an individual.

The world is a platter composed of innumerable opportunities, exciting adventures, surprises at every step and ruthless obstacles that can break and even make people. Sports teach us how to make the best of all of what we have and create a life that is filled with happiness, success, prosperity and endless possibilities.

Krushna Patel

Intern, Goa
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