Education

Be a sport

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“Sports teaches you character; it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose ... it teaches you about life.”

— Billie Jean King, tennis legend and social activist

These powerful lines illustrate the immense power and potential of sports. However, this area has been underutilised.

Our restricted understanding of sports has resulted in confining it to merely a form of entertainment or winning medals, and, to physical growth and development. However, sports is so much more — it makes people mentally alert and ethically sound.

Research, over the years, has proved how it helps in character and personality building. The sports laboratory called ‘playground’ instils several qualities or values, which help people tackle life’s negative, testing and difficult situations.

Personality development

Sports helps inculcate in people values such as fighting spirit, team spirit, decision-making ability, supporting the weak, honesty, integrity, discipline, respect, equanimity, satisfaction, tolerance, taking initiatives, among others.

For instance, not everyone is naturally gifted with decision-making ability. However, playing sports can help develop this trait. For example, while playing football, a child has to decide whether to pass or shoot or when to sprint or jog; while playing badminton, a player is taking split-second decisions on whether to go for a ‘toss’, ‘drop’ or ‘smash’. All this not only helps with decision making but also teaches one to stand by them.

Apart from this, values like equanimity help individuals to handle life’s ups-and-downs. Sports teaches one how to face rejection, loss, and failure, given that every sport has a winner and a loser. Values such as making an honest assessment of oneself, discipline, respect towards coaches, teammates and rivals help one become a better individual.

In this era of tough competition, one must be prepared to handle the success and failures with the right spirit. Success should be celebrated but must not instil a feeling of conceit, and failures should be taken as a lesson to do better and not fall into dejection.

What better tool than sports to instil these values? Therefore, it is high time we promote sports among the youth, to help them develop holistic personalities.

The writer is Head of Sports Research Centre, IMT Ghaziabad and President, Sports: A way of life.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 5:30:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/be-a-sport/article34009369.ece

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