Friday, June 25, 2010

Sports for the sake of sports

I am aware that this does not come strictly under the category of 'education', but a few things that happened over the last week or so made me want to write about it. After all, sports does contribute to a child's education, doesn't it?

Gone are those days, when we learnt to play tennis just to beat Dad at a game, or learnt to swim because we like water. Children are now made to compete in the sports arena, as they are in school, in tuition, during fetes and shows... A very good example of this is the Complan/Bournvita that comes on TV. There are around 8 kids, standing in a line, as though on a race track, and as the day goes by, their energies come down except for that one kid who drinks Complan/Bournvita, keeping his “battery” fully charged. Come on! You don’t have kids just to put them in a rat race!

Yes, agreed, sports builds character. It keeps your child healthy, it cultivates team spirit and confidence, it helps them cope with failure and makes them learn that they need to try and try again to succeed. Sports helps a child surpass his or her limitations, and the last thing he/she needs is a parent standing by, checking to see whether they have clocked the national time. This, I speak from personal experience. I have seen parents, standing with their stopwatches in front of the coach, waiting for their children to reach the finish line. And if they (the kids) have not clocked the time they are supposed to have, they’ll never hear the end of it. It has become a common thing, these days, to push kids into sports and expect them to do well. Of course, there is the advantage of getting into a good school or college if your kid has broken the national record or if he or she is the youngest TT champion in the state. But what is more important is sport for sports sake. Not always to win, not always to be the best, but to have fun, to learn, to grow.

While introducing your child to sports, it helps to start early. Look at your child’s aptitude and choose the sport accordingly. Also, make sure your child likes what he or she is playing. If they don’t like it, your forcing them might put them off sports for good. This also means you need a coach who will respect that, and make the learning experience fun for your child. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So what’s the point in making play seem like work? Oh, and of course, the last and most important point – if your children want to do something other than sports, like say art or theatre or dance, let them. In the long run, it’ll definitely help make them balanced, independent individuals as much as sports will.

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