Sports Talk : Come Out and Play

Dingamang Ijiubota Daimai *

Listen to this-
Boys and girls come out to play, the moon doth shine as bright as day, leave your supper and leave your sleep and come with your play fellows into the street. Come with a whoop, come with a call, come with a good will or not at all. Up the ladder and down the wall a house penny rolls with serve us all. You Find milk, and I'll Find Hour. And we'll have a pudding in half an hour.

This is a popular children rhyme that dates back to 1708 England, possibly created when children were confined only to work and study without any play and recreation. Not to surprise with another well-said phrase "All day work without play makes Jack a dull boy".

Games, sports and extra-activities makes children attracted to attending schools and colleges besides the conventional academic pursuit. It makes much sense when children are introduced to this area and cater themselves in choosing which one they are better suited with - academy or sports etc. offering a greater playing field of opportunity to excavate hidden talents in students.

Some parents argue upon school authority as to why sports and its culture should ruin their wards - becoming a deflecting force from being academically sound. It has been much a relevant debate as to why sports today should become a compulsory subject or a matter of choice? But pragmatically speaking, it cannot be denied how sports has enhanced the ability(s) of the child and developed challenging spirits.

In this age of TVs, Computers, and mind-blowing academic race, which we recently had results of the XIIth and the Xth still awaited, school students are becoming highly inactive consequently leading them to obese life. Rather, India is the hub of various ailments like Diabetes, Obesity, Heart diseases, Orthopedics related problem etc., howbeit, with great deal of we playing cricket game!

Sometimes, people fail to understand why their wards don't excel in academics as was the case with the neighbour. What I tell them is one reason clear enough their talents' somewhere, perhaps in Sports gymnastics, soccer, weightlifting, swimming etc or Music piano, guitar, orchestra or say Designing, Developing and so on away from the regular learning of "E=mc2".

What I meant is, one must not expect of all the children in a single family to sail equally together in a given field. Some may definitely have talent/gift, whatever you may call, which you may not find with others and vice versa. What most parents do is, if they are Doctors they expect their kids to be taking the same course, an Engineer for Engineer, an IAS for lAS, and so on it goes. Generally speaking, it is not wrong to wish for the same, nonetheless, what about being bit liberal and the decision left open with their kid's inclinations and tastes?

Reports says that the pressure upon children can go disastrous even beyond redemption, when they no longer can carry anymore, and in the process they are spoiled rather than to be built upon!

Youth, which is the strength, pillar and wealth of our country, as the saying commonly goes, comprises over half the population but imagine, half of them going wrong in decision making! We talk much about Universal Education, the so called (SSA) Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan committed to fulfil at least 75% sensitization by 2010 but on the contrary we have a revealing study carried out by HRD that says one out of every four students does not go beyond class V, by class VIII drop-out rates gets worsen to 50.8%!

And for reasons unknown, perhaps like poor management/education and lack of recreational activities such as sports etc., 27% of them are flocking-in for private institutions. For any country to reckon their advancement, the concept based on PQLI (Physical Quality Life Index) under the UNDP-1990 is available crediting to three parameters: First, Longevity between the age of 25-85, Secondly, standard of living i.e. PPP and GDP and Thirdly, knowledge i.e. 2/3 for Adult education and 1/3 for School enrolment wherein India culminates at the 127th rank!

Certainly, I agree upon the argument as to when we talk of quality work, the same on the other hand, fail to meet the basic requirements of children like school spare dress, pens-pencils, eraser, book, food, tiffin etc. which must partly be responsible from the guardian's end. Knowing these grievances, Govt. from time to time launches projects and programs like Operation Blackboard, NEP, and Midday Meals/Anganwadi-ICDS etc. for optimum redressal of student's requirement- knowledge wise or health wise.

Sound environment, Physical well being of a student is a must to carry out his/her studies for we know that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. It cannot be denied that 'Sports and recreational activities enhances the abilities of the students and develop challenging spirit for which many now believe that it should be encouraged right from early days.'

Today, many schools incorporate in-outdoor school sport activities like Soccer, Athletics, Basket ball, Table tennis, Volleyball, Badminton etc. making it mandatory to students unless children are exempted on grounds of medical infirmities. They credit points when it comes to seeking admissions in different colleges and other carrier-oriented institutions later in life. Managers, coaches like PTs from the ex-players Association are employed with well-paid emolument in order to engage pupil's activity, making them healthy and active.

The State of Sikkim can be one fine example that carries the essence of augmenting Education with Sports. It has a Govt. that started a full fledged sports program for the youth for the overall development of physical fitness and also fight menace of drugs providing the facilities and exposure for the talented sport stars to excel. Reports say, Less than 7% of the population under 35 have access to organized sports and games - perhaps not surprisingly considering that the sports budget is about 0.073 per cent of the total Indian Union budget!

Education, having become a Concurrent subject from the 1976's 42nd amendment can now be shared by the individual State with Centre's guidance for various developments. In fact, I wish to say, Manipur should exemplify the conduciveness of Education with Sports crediting to her distinctive attribution of Sports' history. Manipur's legacy of excellent sporting, still on good track, has much more to do to promote further by way of encouraging inter-intra State, college and school tournaments/competitions.

Our honourable Sports Minister, who as a person is half better known for his contribution in football, is called upon to examine such proposals—introduction of compulsory games and sports with the conventional educational routine.

Over the years, telling parents, guardians alike to encourage their ward(s) in finding/funding talents giving them adequate chance has been my burden. In fact, some think about and begin buying ideas when they only see some excelling well in sports or elsewhere—realising you can't really force to change the course of your own talented zygote and gametes unless you are content with any given outcome!

In this "flatten world" of myriad opportunity(s) as rightly said by Thomas L Friedman in his book, The world is flat, we should be cautious enough to decide for our ward and counsel them adequately. Parents must take time! Talk to them again! That is all I can say. One can realise how regretful it can be when he knows how his child has lost opportunities in life.

Well for now, let's cheer up and let October 2010 come, we shall be hosting the spectacular 19th Commonwealth games in New Delhi for the first time, next only to the Olympics happening perhaps once in life time. Departments of the State Govt are suggested, rather expected, to sponsor students who outstand in studies and sports for a trip or so to this event so as to encourage and boost their morale. Booking tickets now will be conducive and letting them witness some of these events wouldn't be a bad idea. Opening ceremony is on 3rd Oct at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, closing on 14th Oct, Participating teams are 85 Nations in 17 disciplines.

The Motto of the Commonwealth Games is the best part of all which says: Come out and play! Therefore, even as the rhyme goes "Boys and girls come out to play...." may we allow them to come out and satisfy to their fill, letting them participate in these shows.

They are, today, the individual ambassadors of our State who can carry many good messages and also the heart-searching example of Body-builder Pradip Kumar, Mr Manipur, who has harnessed HIV by way of Sporting, encouraging people to be determined without loosing any hope. Mr Pradip Kumar is one of the gifts Manipur gives to the world. Our best wishes to him and to such ones who will be following the same course of splendidness in the future.

Well for now, keep playing and keep yourself fit and healthy. Until then, continue to give five!

* Dingamang Ijiubota Daimai wrote this article for The Sangai Express. The writer can be contacted at dingamang(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was webcasted on June 24th, 2009.

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