It is only in a sound body that a sound mind resides. Absence of games has also resulted in many mental ailments and sleeplessness. Games keep our body alert, active, youthful and energetic. In activities involving games and sports, blood-circulation increases and there is an increased supply of oxygen. Only a healthy person can work long, hard and cheerfully. An unhealthy person may not take as much interest in work as a healthy one. Health can be maintained by exercise alone. But games and sports have some additional benefits as they are played in groups and in healthy competitive spirit.
Among many other things, they help develop co-operation, quality of leadership, team spirit and a willingness to submit to, and further, the rule of law. Games instill in the players the spirit of self-reliance, justice, fair play and sporting spirit. They make people bold, adventurous, social, disciplined and more conscious of their responsibilities towards society and nation. Players have been found better equipped to fight superstitions, communalism, obscurantism and narrow approach to issues of national interest. The kind of excitement, joy, thrill and entertainment games provide is unparalleled. They make the exercise interesting and inspire confidence in one’s work. They also teach to take success and failure in one’s stride, in a sporting spirit.
So, games and sports have all these additional advantages which an exercise taken for physical fitness and health lacks. A player is bound to become broad-minded, tolerant, principled, disciplined, honest, and more secular in his approach and tough enough to tackle problems. It is said that, “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton,” because the hero of this battle was a student of this famous school.
It is here, as a student and player, that he developed the great qualities of leadership, patriotism, heroism, endurance, courage, and team-spirit, etc. which later helped him in defeating Napoleon. These and other qualities of character cultivated with the help of games and sports are quite essential for success in life. ‘They provide the much needed self-confidence and sense of fair play to the players and sports persons.
They widen the mental horizon of players and make them true followers of the rule of law. A player has to follow certain rules and regulations while playing. He is penalized for a foul or transgression of the rule. He or she has to abide by the decision of the referee.
He has to play in a certain place and position, under the captain or skipper of the team. One has to respect and obey their captain. Success in a game depends on co-operative team spirit and combined energetic efforts of all the members of the team. A team has to play as an organised whole in a competitive spirit, against the other team. And this goes a long way in inculcating in the players, both consciously, and unconsciously, the spirit of adventure, discipline, fair play, team spirit, cooperation and taking of quick and right decisions.
A sports person may not lose his or her temper and morale even in the face of defeat because he/she would take it coolly, calmly and then would try to perform better the next time. Players know that victory and defeat are the two aspects of the same coin. There is more joy in playing than in its end result.
As in games so in life, a good player will never give up or admit defeat, nor would he be demoralized by defeat. In joy and success also he will keep his cool and equipoise. The defeated players and their team congratulate the winning team; shake hands with the winning players, which teach them to face realities of life with a smiling face in the spirit of detachment and indifference of an onlooker. Games also help in overcoming the sense of violence, arrogance and superiority as these are purged by providing them sufficient outlet. There cannot be a better training place than a playground for our young men and women preparing to enter the fray and combat of life. It is not success or failure or the length of life that is significant. What is of utmost importance is the quality of life and the spirit in which it has been spent.
In the words of poet Grant land Rice: For when the one Great Scorer comes to write against your name He marks not that you won or lost But how you played the game. Encouragement of sports and games is also desirable as it helps in decreasing the general incidence of crimes. Games and sports develop character and give health, which are quite essential for improving the quality of one’s life, acquiring wealth and success. It is because of these reasons that our government and educational institutions have become so sports-conscious and greater funds are being allocated for the promotion of sports. Sports in India are a state subject, but the Centre helps the states by rendering financial assistance and laying down guidelines for sports activities. Many states have now introduced games and sports as compulsory subjects in schools and some of them have started sports schools and sports hostels, etc.
The corporate and private sector should also come forward to help promote games and sports. A beginning has been made, in the sense that many national sports events are now being sponsored by some well-known business houses, firms, companies and establishments. The business and corporate bodies should spend a percentage of their income not only in sponsoring national sports events, but also in providing playing grounds, equipment and other facilities necessary for the promotion of games and sports.