Sports activities are symbolic of vibrant youth. It develops a sense of competitiveness and camaraderie in them. We Indians basically lack this killer instinct that is why we may do well in the initial stages but flounder at the final stage, the world arena-Olympics, World Cups and the rest. We have always cut a sorry figure.
Our youth are lacking motivation, that is why we cannot rise bey
ond the mediocre. A country as small as Cuba produces world class athletes, boxers, high jumpers, weight-lifters and what not. Their population is no match even for our smaller states and if percentages are calculated, we do not stand anywhere. Why and how? The answer is sheer motivation. A nation of dull youth never makes its mark on the world stage and the intellectual growth of a nation depends largely on the physical fitness of the youth. It is a reflection of our enthusiasm and physical fitness that we have hardly made our mark in Olympics over the years.
Our educational institutions are bereft of sporting infrastructure and no encouragement is given to budding sportsmen nor talent search conducted. If by any chance we have some good sportsmen, it is due to their own initiatives. P.T. Usha was not a product of any sponsored programme for sporting activities. Nor is Baichung Bhutia in football or Sachin Tendlkar in cricket. It has been their own and family efforts which projected them on the centre stage.
Todays professional atmosphere demands a sense of competitiveness. Nations progress only when they compete with other nations. Debates and sports create a sense of competitiveness amongst participants and this quality is gained by the victory as well as the vanquished. Such healthy competition helps create a better individual who always tries to put forth his best to secure a winning edge over others. This attitude continues to be of advantage when the young men try to gain entry in professional colleges where the best only are selected. And this sense of one-upmanship allows the individual to reach the top in his professional career. Complacency is always a negative factor and once this feeling sets in the individual may become a perpetual loser.
Debating activities and dramatics, music and art, are all extra curricular activities which have our skill and bring out the artist in us. They create intellectuals who are better human beings because of their aptitude for fine arts. There are high caliber, quality individuals who are fond of the beauty of life and they spread warmth and understanding in the society. The best way to bring out these inherent skills is participating in these activities and when this sense of participation permeates into the minds then shyness and introversion is overcome. The time today is for introspection and the society, our leaders and our young generation should do it and find out where we are lacking, why and how these are to be overcome. Just rhetoric will not do, it is now time for action unless we want to make up the bottom half in the list of nations.