Virender Poonia, a Dhronacharya awardee was once taped saying, “Our Sports policies are formulated by People who have perhaps never participated even in their School Sports Meet. And, that’s hurting our Sports and Sportsperson the most.” So, should we be really shocked by Sport’s debacles? The fans might be but most in the Sporting circle aren’t.

 

During the Congress regime a decade back, the then Sports Minister Sunil Dutt let out a worst kept secret that politicians consider the sports ministry as a punishment posting that no one wants! The actor turned Politician, Dutt was truly right.! The sports ministers enjoy a free junket and are busy throwing their weight around, along with being on a lookout for a Plum Posting elsewhere! With a reluctant minister totally clueless, it’s no surprise the Indian Sporting Ship continues to sink. For too long, our sports bodies have been cornered by the worst charlatans and goons; it’s time to throw the lot out.

If it is the lack of concern and interest at the Top, at the bottom, it is the absence of scientific coaching, training and infrastructure that is keeping our athletes from becoming World Beaters. In the modern sporting world, it is necessary that an athlete starts early under a competent coach, with access to good facilities. Unfortunately, our athletes fall behind. Although still, a few manage to make it big in International Arenas! There is a lesson to be learnt from those Indians who perform unexpectedly well (without complaining of lack of Facilities) and the pampered National Icons who don’t.!

Often, at Traffic Signals, you might have seen little boys and girls, come over to beg for arms, or selling flowers, ballpoint pens, pirated books and other such stuff. However, among them are some amazingly talented acrobats who effortlessly perform cartwheels, backflips, and walk confidently on hastily rigged tightropes!

Why can’t talent scouts pick them up and train them to become world class sportsperson? The children would be saved from a life of abuse and exploitation and what the exposure to education might do for their self-esteem is an add-on. But No, we refuse to challenge the established norms of the Society.

We have to acknowledge that our Fundamental attitude to sports is based on a Cultural mindset. On the other hand, our social prestige and educational priorities are still heavily weighted in favour of Engineers, Doctors, Civil servant and Management types.!!! [Agreed? Let me know in the Comment Section.]

The situation is not likely to change soon; So, brace for a few more sports debacles and disappointments in the future.

Moreover, ever since televisions and computers have entered our lives, the few hours that our children spent outside have dwindled alarmingly. {The irony of life is that I sat typing this article when I should have gone out for a Walk in fresh air!}

 

The rise of obesity among the Young is a serious concern and no one is doing anything about it. The so-called ‘High Class’ Parents, now send their children to air-conditioned schools in air-conditioned buses and cars, so their capacity to withstand sweaty games fields and harsh playing conditions are severely limited. No wonder they prefer to play games on Smartphones or their palm-held computers and ruin their eyes in the process.

Instead of toughening them up, Parents have started to satisfy their whims and fancies. Parents often think that by buying the most expensive tennis racquet or trainers and sports kits, they have done their duty. The rest is up to the child or School or the local Academy Coach. The truth is that most Kids tire of the latest game in a few months and parents are sent off to buy another set of ‘Toys’.

I say bring back the stern grandfather who taught children to swim or cycle, learn multiplication tables and do hours of daily ‘Sulekh’ and narrated anecdotes of how he and his friends used to steal Mangoes while the Gardener slept during vacations spent at his Home. Back then, Television watch time and movies were rationed…But, believe me, however much we hated it back then, this is what made us into stronger Human Beings. As I grow older, I appreciate the kind of Self Discipline that we can still submit ourselves to, whether it is in matters of Food or denying oneself a Treat.

One day, when we have all gone and there is no one to remember a black and white world, our Future Generations, sick of easy options, may revert to a way of life that does not place comfort above all. On this Hope, I pin my prayers!

It seems like I have diverted from my Topic and rambled on for so long. So, for conclusion let me put it this way: The ship of the Sporting Industry is moving in the wrong direction it needs to be pushed out of the choppy waters and made to move in that #one_direction. Will Mr Modi’s new sports policies do the magic of pulling the Sports’ Ship from under the waters of distrust and debacles? The answer to this question would come to the fore by the time medal tally of next Olympics is prepared! Or maybe a few years later. Let’s keep our Fingers crossed and say a silent prayer for Swadesi Sports glory!

 

 

 

Tail Piece: If you ever feel useless just remember that someone is a lifeguard at the Olympics swimming event! If you have an unsatisfying job that makes you cry “What am I doing here?” Spare a thought for those lifeguards tasked with overseeing Michael Phelps and other trained Olympic swimmers!

The photo of an ennui-stricken lifeguard at Rio had created an explosion on Social Media networks with users coming up with Hilarious takes on the presence of lifeguards at the Games! While some of them found the Job to be “pointless” or “worthless”, there were some calling it a “Dream Job”!  So Long!

                        -The Soliloguy.