The Indian mindset and the need for change

Sports, for long now, has taken the backseat in our country. And by sports, I don’t mean staying up late at night to watch your favourite club’s match or going to a jam packed cricket stadium to support India or your IPL team. By sports, I mean going to the ground and playing a sport; errr…training for a sport.

Playing a sport should never be confused with training for a sport. These both lie at the two extremes of the sports spectrum. There are millions of people in this country who just aimlessly play throughout the day and that makes me sad. Sad, because they are not channelizing their energies in the right direction. Rather than hitting towering sixes in your gully or smashing the shuttle in your colony, why not take up the sport seriously? Play with a motive, a vision.

Training facilities might be too expensive for a few (read many in India’s case). This is where the government needs to step in. The Sports Authority of India(SAI) must provide budding players with the facilities needed to excel at the international level. And yes it’s time we start dreaming big. Enough with playing just one or two state/national tournaments and being satisfied with the tag of a state/national player. Get some passion going. The government would do what it has to, we cannot single-handedly bring about a change in that, but what we can change is our attitude towards sports. Stop treating it just as an additional activity that you perform in the evening, if you are good at it then develop the hunger to succeed, practice and aim high. This goes to all those lazy fellows who support their club no matter what, shout out loud when they score a goal but never even think of stepping onto the football field. This also goes to those ‘experts’ sitting in every corner of India, who play  cricket just once in a while, but are ready to criticize even one petty failure of a player or the team as a whole.

It is up to us to bring about the change. If you have it in yourself, why keep it limited only to your backyard or colony? Showcase your talent, polish your skills and most importantly have a serious attitude towards sports. Productive use of the playing time could lead you to unattainable heights.

The situation at hand is quite alarming. Over the years we have given academics the upper hand over sports. Many families still believe that sports is just for those who aren’t good at studies. Who should we blame for these misconceptions in our society? The government? Nah, peep into your heart and deep down you will see that even you feel the same way. We are the culprits, We are the ones who have stopped our children, our friends and even our self from taking up a sport professionally saying “There is not much scope in India. I’ll study and get a good job or start a business instead.” Sometimes money isn’t everything, sometimes it’s about the love, the passion for the game. Have the courage to follow your dreams, don’t just keep doing what society expects you to do, think outside the box and make wonders happen.

But making wonders happen isn’t that easy, is it?

In order to compete at the international level, one needs to devote most of his time to his game. Training hard, eating right and staying focused. A player is as good as his coach wants him to be. If a coach makes the player practice more, teaches him more tricks of the trade, then the player is bound to succeed. Thus, the coach plays a huge role in determining the career of a sportsman. It is disheartening to know that many devoted players are forced to quit practicing due to the absence of a good coach. Again, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) needs to provide good quality coaches to schools and colleges and other training centres in every city. Only then will the players learn how to use their talent and skills to excel.

As I said before, not much can be done with the government activities, we can only remind them continuously of providing the players with suitable facilities and coaches. What we as individuals can do is change the way we think. Give sports a chance. If we start believing in ourselves and start working on our game it in a way would give hope and courage to people around us to do the same too. Academics is important, it does give you a lot of success, but do not give up the possibility of taking up a sport professionally because people around you feel that sports would lead you nowhere. Be brave enough to take the road less-travelled.

In the end I would like to share this inspirational quote from the movie Coach Carter.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ”

We are all meant to shine so why not give our passions and talents a chance. I hope you get some inspiration from this and start bringing about a change in the society and most importantly a change in you.

Published first on Sportskeeda


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