Lets accept it, we’ve taken the axiom “playing for Fun” a bit too seriously. Most of us in India are brought up with a secular love for sports with kids being introduced to sports as a hobby (and meant to remain so). Here, I’ll bounce some points back and forth which will try to hint the factors which have led to this almost sorry state of sports in India.
1. Sports are played for fun
True. Sports are fun but there is a very serious element attached with it which goes amiss in India at the beginning of a kid’s sporting career. “One has to win and one has to lose”, yes, but sometimes we’re taught to accept defeat a bit too graciously. There aren’t many stories like that of Andre Agassi wherein he was pushed like a maniac into playing tennis and eventually he ended up coming out as a winner. The stern belief in a sport coming from a parent is very important for a kid to succeed. I believe that is missing somewhere.
2. Juggling too much
Sports are looked upon as an addition to the resume in the future when he/she might have to take up an admission or job on sports quota. To have the maximum entries, kids are enrolled for skating for one season, cricket the other and table tennis the third. With three certificates in the piggy bank, the future can only be right. Yes, right.
3. Fanatic Love for Cricket
I’d lay a lot of blame on this religion that has been created. Cricket is the only sport in which a normal kid can consider a career if he is good enough. The only sport in India with money, it has close to butchered the chances of other sports rising up. We’ve been talking about the situation improving but religions are not wiped away so soon. Kids need to see more sports before being handed a cricket bat.
4. Bad Facilities
This again stems from the fact that we in a way have a low regard for sports. Making a living out of playing a sport is still looked upon as a no-no. And the facilities which are available, aren’t much more than mediocre. Grounds, equipment and coaches – all of these areas need a huge boost. Any kid being exposed to high class sporting facilities will definitely have a different kind of respect for the sport and pursue it far more enthusiastically.
5. Not custom built for sports
This point might raise a few hues and cries but the Indian body is not custom-made for something like athletics, basketball or gymnastics. When someone pictures an Indian male, it’s usually a 5 feet 5 inch guy with a podgy belly who’s running around in the daily grind. A very biased opinion, true, but the fact remains that a majority of Indians don’t possess any sporting capabilities. We have exceptional players in all fields but if sports was in our genes, we would be doing a lot more with our 1.2 billion + population.
There might be several other factors that might be detrimental to a kid’s progress in sports. Do list them in the comments section and also let me know if your views are completely contradictory.