DISCLAIMER: I am aware that this article could bring me some cheer from the juvenile audience and the sporting fraternity with simultaneously as much hostility from the elders who loathe our idea of fun. But I’d take the pertinence to go on the record and declare that this is actually dedicated to the latter set of grey hairs. For it is they who ought to realize the value of something truly precious that they seem to be missing in the wholesome puzzle of life!
With the media’s delight in sports’ sensational headlines that catch our attention first in the news, countless hours spent in endless discussions, whatsoever be the place, the exorbitant amounts we are ready to part with to catch our heroes live, the sleepless nights we are ready to dedicate to watching out favorite stars battle on the other side of the globe, the overzealous adoration and worship of the sport’s legends…etc.
Apparently the addiction seems to justify a common complaint, especially from the older generation that the present times are guilty of indulgence in sport. And therefore it’s inevitable that we sit back and analyze our indulgence as to whether Sport is in truth a mindless obsession or an appropriate need!
After all when humanity is ready to part the major share of its living time to this, we better make sure that it is a worthy investment when we desire evolution in the long run for our time, efforts and attention.
Firstly, I guess I shall not have any opposition in stating that Sport is essentially categorized as an entertainment. And entertainment is further defined as the occasional medium for relaxation for a stressed mind. But going by the evidence of our embrace with sport, one seems to be getting more stressed involved with the games. While this form of enjoyment was supposed to calm an agitated mind coming from the tensions of office, one observes the contrary with a pressured employee entering office after an unexpected result for his favorite team or player.
Secondly, parents complain that children are addicted to watching sports, lose their focus from their main priority, resulting in a downward graph in their studies at school which sparks the dreaded echo of most psychologists that ‘For children weakness in studies results in lesser self-confidence’. Soon it has a cascading effect and he falters in everything he attempts. Inevitably, he soon gets frustrated with himself and becomes willing to do anything to extinguish his pain, unfortunately even death!
In their words, ‘What does watching games help one acquire? While the sportsmen and women make their share of bucks and live a life of gaiety, splurging their exorbitant sky-rocketing amounts paid for merely PLAYING, amounts which are multiple times of what most professional hard working folks make in their entire career! That’s for sure one convincing ace of a reason for which most rational sane minds would fall for, I reckon.
Lastly, I was once asked to imagine the world without Sport and this was the picture I saw. The topics for discussion would be politics, economy, history or science. All time available would be spent with books, labs, love or movies. The television would be full of soaps, news, environment, and wildlife. Well obviously two to three channels would disappear, our daily newspaper would be two pages less, there would be more timeslots open for other social programs in the news.
On the surface, nothing seems to be bad and thus going by the various arguments brought to light so far, one could be tempted to declare that our indulgence is indeed an OBSESSION that only results in a purposeless time-waste and doom for its pursuer.
But, I beg to differ.
For one, given that I am a sports writer, you ought to forgive my partiality, not in compassion but clarity after examining my observations in justification of my claim.
I present to you, a set of my five reasons to prove that Sport is a worthy investment and unarguably a NEED!
1. Sport unites!
Sport unites like music bringing together people of varying opinions, sex, philosophies, countries and mindsets under one umbrella, supporting a common cause of victory for one hero or one team. Football gives the poor man on the street a large family at the bar that together celebrates a famous victory. One always sees a sea of crowds turning up for the games, that’s essentially two gigantic families at war. In recent times, Cricket has been the first dialogue to resolving conflicts of frontiers like in the case of India-Pakistan. Who could forget the stirring film ‘Invictus’ that captures the lovely tale of Nelson Mandela who erases the psychological barriers of color post-apartheid through cheering an all-white out-of-contention South African team to an unexpected Rugby World Cup title!
2. Sport inspires!
The history of Sport is replete with tales of inspiration. The relentless will of a determined Nadal to best Federer on his own home of the Wimbledon lawn? Or the story I’d narrate to my grandchildren of Federer; a faltering legend that descended to No.3, critiqued as a greedy flower still dancing on the horizon past its age but strove on fighting like a champion to reclaim his lost crown. The spirit of determination is probably the tale of every athlete who made it to the Olympics; of every national patriot who fought his way from the impoverished home to the international arena for representing their country, of every poor lad who chased a dream, laboring day and night, facing all the obstacles to turn up in the national colors.
3. Sport gives confidence!
For those complaining that sport weakens the spirit, I have the right answer. The truth is that Sport gives confidence like no other. Those heroes that are born in the dying moments, when hope seems foolish, transform overnight into men of greatest confidence in life. Take the story of Novak Djokovic. Long swept aside as a mere joker, one Davis cup victory chiseled out a god from this man. From thence, he moved about like a perfectionist in spell, reducing the legends of the sport to faltering starters. Or even the tale of Andy Murray who fought his tears, found his lost intent, returned as a champion, humiliating the emperor and soon picking his first major!
4. Sport is a mirror to life!
Sport perhaps enjoys its uninhibited popularity owing to the fact that it holds a mirror to each individual’s life. In each of the game’s innumerable moments, one can find the varying emotions that he himself is engaged with daily. The transient success and joys, the despairing nadir of failure, loss of support, solitude for company, cruel destiny, pain of unexpected results, mental and physical pressures that soak all energy. Probably as with sport, the answer to all our worries is the indefatigable will to practice, participate and doing our best, leaving the results while enjoying the game. No wonder it’s said ‘Life is a game. Play it!’
5. Lastly, Sport is life!
This statement is as nakedly simple as much as it is a veiled metaphor. In the naked view, with the endless games in existence and a host more being created every second, there’s at least half a world that thrives on sport; directly the different Sport’s bodies, players, administration, funding and advertisement agencies, sponsors, audience and the associated media. Also sans the computer games, the computer freaks would go jobless, kids would hate life, and malls would become mere food stalls with living dolls. Besides, playing has its endless documented benefits of good health, sound mind, agile reflexes, sharpening tactical strategic thinking powered etc.
Metaphorically and most importantly though, without sport; we would have that much less reason to cheer, to join in unison all our hands and hearts, a common cause to shed our individual egos and get equal, a true platform playing live our long sought dreams, an arena where we have our tryst with inimitable patriots of steely nerve, an altar with our glorious gods to idolize, a theatre with life’s perfect dramatic scripts, a perfect distraction to a choked mind, and the ideal hope to inspire life.
For without Sport we can easily exist, but it’s only Sport that maketh a Life!
PS: But as with all things in life, it’s a boon till we stay within limits and the only one to make that choice is yourself!