India- a country stretched to the seams by its burgeoning youth population. We are considered the Sunshine economy; we are called an almost developed nation and are touted to be one of the future superpowers of the world. Yet this seemingly strong and well-built country provides a pretty dismal training for the future to its teaming youth, at least in terms of education.
Leaving the atrocious condition of our method of instruction and syllabus for another day, let’s concentrate on the complete lack of importance attributed to a vital link in the development chain of the youth. That link would be sports activities.
Even in the semi-elitist school I attended, sports activities were granted an hour a week, in which only the “good” players were allowed to participate in the team games and the rest of us were made to stand in a line and take turns trying to scramble over the vaulting horse. It therefore comes as no surprise that most of the times, sports activities in schools are overshadowed by favoritism and lack of facilities. In fact, the competitive spirit cultivated by Indians has never been conducive to exploring Sports as a subject.
A lot can be learnt from games other than the obvious physical benefits. Sports promote many values which can be used to mould children into better and stronger human beings. Discipline, team spirit, strategizing, crisis management and resilience are just some of the principles that can be gleaned from normal sports education. However, in India, this has never been an area explored, except for its physical advantages. Its time we woke up to the need to inculcate these values and standards in the youth of India and sports seem an ideal way to achieve this.
A few steps that could be taken are to transform the subject of sports from the sidelines of the school syllabus to an integral part of it. Physical aspects should be teamed up with theoretical components and games should be played with a view of learning, not winning. The Government too should take an active interest in this field and provide the large unprivileged youth population of the country with easy access to sports facilities.
In conclusion, I would like to say that it is not we who are averse to sports. In fact, in urban areas, our Generation has already turned to basketball and football and not just stuck to cricket. It would be optimistic to consider that this change will soon affect the rural areas too. However, the nature with which sports is handled in the country has made our interaction with it mainly restricted to television viewings and video games. A more integrated approach to Sports Education in the country would perhaps drive us from our living rooms into the nearby playgrounds. It may go a long way in converting the potential interest of the Youth of India into a physical reality.
[Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xtream_i/197046207/]