Be a sport

In sports, character, value, physical and mental strength are all challenged in a short span of time. Sports can tell us a lot about ourselves as individuals and as a society. Yet, apart from a fanatic obsession with Cricket, we have very little to show for our passion in sports. While there is certainly better infrastructure available today, sport is not a popular part of Indian culture. Instead of joining sports teams or athletic games, many children are spending countless hours in front of TV screens and video games.
I am not going to go into the demerits of not playing a sport, but will rather showcase the merits of doing so. I believe sports occupy a prominent place in the life of a nation. To me they are an indicator of the culture of a country too. The basic values like healthy competition, respect for the opposition and fair-play are inculcated by playing sports.
Sport not only helps keep you healthy and fit but also plays an important part as a recreational event. Imagine you are home after a having a really hectic week and decide to go out with the boys for a game of football.Your batteries are recharged; your stress gets busted and it relaxes you so much more.
Sports shape the character of a person significantly. Concentration, alertness, team-work, focus and leadership are some of the skills that sport teaches anyone. Sports develop and encourage the spirit of healthy rivalry and competition. They teach us coolness, courage and self-control. It inculcates team-spirit, a sense of comradeship and discipline. A sportsman has to obey his captain and accept the judgment of umpires and referees. He learns to place the interests of the team above considerations of self. Thus, sports play a vital role in imparting complete education. Also it breeds the sportsman spirit which enables everyone to accept failure and defeats in a positive way and learn from such events.
Recently, we have seen a few good initiatives have been taken up by a few leading news networks too. Currently we have a ‘Marks for Sports’ campaign endorsed by a leading cine star. It encourages schools to grade students for the sports they participate in. Sports have to be part of a country’s culture and getting the schools into this is a really good initiative. Another initiative I saw was ‘Moms for playgrounds’. This one actually expresses the concerns of moms who want their kids to go outdoors and play. India’s leading lady boxer, a mom herself, is an ardent supporter of this cause.
But to me the best example of Sports changing lives in India is the story of the state of Haryana. Nestled in the north of India, Haryana has had a tradition of producing a lot of good sportsmen, after all, India’s first cricket world cup winning captain comes from that state. But the 90’s and the turn of the millennium saw a huge chunk of the Indian youth fall prey to drugs and substance abuse.
Haryana was one of the worst affected states. Today, with the help of sports, the state government has been able to bring a huge turnaround in the attitude of the youth. They have exorcised their drug demons and have taken up sport as a way of life. And the result of that is Olympic medal winning wrestlers and boxers.
Sport binds people across boundaries. When a national team (be it of any game) plays, the entire nation rises up as one. Such a quality is rarely seen elsewhere. So my humble request to all moms and dads   is “Be a sport” and your kid will imbibe the same value.


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