Sports, as I see it.

This IG I realized something amazing. And I had to share it. No,  it’s not a complaint or an angry blow out. It’s just something very important.

So it was the 4th day of Institute Gathering, VNIT Nagpur and all the sports I had to play this year were over(we lost everything in first round). So I went around the ground watching other matches. And I understood one thing, I love it. I love sports. I love watching a match and observing the players. I love learning new games and giving a fight. I love the adrenaline rush, the nervousness, the body pain and the freaking cold. I don’t mind all that. But if I’m playing something I expect myself to be good at it. Otherwise, I don’t play it until I’ve learnt it properly. Sports isn’t as simple as people think. Cricket isn’t just about going on the field and hitting the ball, tennis isn’t just about keeping the ball in court. Though we may think of tennis to be like that here, at this low platform where there is no real competition. But, really it’s about feeling the game and understanding it. There are some well-formed techniques. These have propagated through our system for years based on experience. It’s like science, we are using techniques developed by our ancestors. They had observed and formulated them. They trusted us with it and passed them on. We modify them according to our upgraded knowledge and finally pass it on to our future generations. These techniques aren’t a matter of fluke. A game is a combination of strength, concentration and hard work. It is something  much greater than what people realise. It’s about how the game teaches you about life and makes you a better person. A stronger, confident and smart person. There’s that feeling you get when you understand a game completely. It’s a sense of belonging. It is a feeling much different than the one you get after winning or losing. Your teammates feel the same way. You accept the game. You love it. And the game loves you back. The team plays together, like a single body. It teaches you something greater than everything else. It teaches you the ethics. You will not find these kind of ethics in people who haven’t played a sport seriously. When I say ‘seriously’, I mean doing anything to play that game, or giving up your sleep and comfort for it. Doesn’t mean that you have to be very good at it, but you have to allow the game to become a part of your life. You will eventually learn to let out your anger, sadness, happiness and all other kinds of feelings through it. You know that this game will help you get through tough times and happy ones. And until you’ve reached that stage where you will compromise other things to play a sport, you haven’t played the game ‘seriously’. I have done all that and I know how much I loved that part of my life. To know that you will always have that one beautiful game that you understand in depth. To know that when you look at somebody else play, you can’t help but find faults and improvements in their way of playing. And when you have that, you rise above the others. You will notice that people respect you for it. And respect always makes you feel good.
The reason I wrote this is only one. I hope that people realize that sports isn’t how we treat it here at VNIT, during our institute gathering. It isn’t about ‘enthu’, as we call it. It’s about respect and winning with dignity. Or losing with dignity. I feel we need to stop letting any random spectator question a player’s ability to play the game. Several things could go wrong during a match, the player might get hurt or he might not have the required state of mind, but that doesn’t imply that the player is a bad at the game. I feel we need to stop promoting the constant teasing and personal comments during matches. I feel we need stop disgracing the games by sending completely inexperienced people to the ground. It isn’t the job of the referee’s job to teach the players about the rules of the game before or during the match. Atleast send someone who knows the rules and has played before at some point in life. I feel that we need to bring in healthy competition and set our draws in such a way. I feel we need to stop expecting from a person who plays a particular sport to perform well in every other sport. No, I’m not good at cricket, I’m not good at kho-kho. Kho-kho scares me to death. I am not a fan of throw ball either and I can’t do a proper long jump. So I need to stop going there and playing just because there is nobody else to do it. I need to stop going there and pretending that I know that game when I don’t. Just because I can run a little and just because I’m not as clumsy as the others, doesn’t make me a good player.

I’m not saying that we should only let the very good players play, I’m saying that we should only let the ‘players’ play. Not someone who isn’t even aware of the rules or someone who was taught the game 2 days back. I feel we need to stop piling on more and more games and disgracing them year after year. Or if that doesn’t work out, at least set out sensible draws. Let go of the chit system. Make the final, seem like a final. Let the worthy teams win. Don’t make a single player play for a team. That’s a disgrace. If it’s a team game, we should play it like one. Choose a worthy team and sign up for the competition. If you don’t find one, don’t sign up. It’s not worth it. Let go of pretend games like Lagori. Bring in serious sports and let the players play. And after that just watch, learn and appreciate.

By all that I don’t mean that we shouldn’t allow people to learn. We should definitely teach others and learn from them. The administration should provide coaches for each and every sport the student wants to play. I think we deserve at least that much. They talk about counselling and psychiatrists at the HC. Well, give that person a sport. Let him learn it. Let him fall in love with it. And you will see that he doesn’t need a counselor.  All he needs is a sense of belonging and a way to let his extra feely feelings go away.

Sports is a beautiful thing. You will be surprised by the amount of happiness it gives you. It’s the perfect medicine for all kinds of problems. It makes this world a better place.


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