An Open Letter To Our Sports Fraternity: Make Sports Compulsory In Schools
“How often have you dealt with the judgements that came because you decided to take up sports as a career? Were you, like everyone else, plagued with family pressures to invest more time in academics and study? Did you get all the support you required to become successful in India- a country which clearly has a vision for sport but somehow fails to adequately work towards it?
If you had positive answers to the above questions, you are quite lucky and it is commendable that you used your resources to bring glory to the country.
However, if you are the ones who had to struggle to reach where you are now, surely you realise how important supporting an athlete is. And who better to offer that support than you?
India is a country where people would miss work for an important cricket match, where debates on East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are a part of daily life; where people pepper their life with age old traditions of wrestling and kabaddi. In the monotony of life, the refreshment offered by sport is something that cannot be acquired from other avenues.
With so much enthusiasm, it is quite clear that one of the few things Indians are willing to make compensations for is a sport. So why aren’t more people taking up the initiative to popularise sport as a viable career choice? Why aren’t schools targeted and work done at the grassroots?
You can change that. It is you, dear athletes, who are their idols. When you win a medal, the hearts of 1.3 billion people beat collectively in support and pride. Your success stories strike a chord with the general population like no other. It is you who they look up to and you who they can learn from.
As sportspersons, the perspective and understanding which can be brought to the table by you athletes would be invaluable. Going forward, it is this guidance which will help in setting up a practical system of education which gives equal importance to sports alongside academia. It is the system which needs to be changed.
You have spoken about the flaws and drawbacks of India’s sports structure. You have worked to improve the conditions of sportspeople to the best of your ability. You are the best people to help us as we take on this initiative.
Children, as a rule, are naturally drawn towards the playing field. By keeping sport at par with academics, one would ensure not only the complete development of a child but also set up a strong foundation for the future of Indian sports.
As esteemed members of the sporting fraternity, the experience and success which you have gathered over years of hard-work can provide a glimpse into this rather competitive world. It would help, going forward, when children can draw the benefits of your experiences and mentorship. For India to retain its place as a country of great sporting talent, this kind of participation from you is necessary.
It is better to be safe than sorry – better to pay attention to sports rather than complaining about a potential lack of medals afterwards. Your encouragement in the form of active restructuring and planning can go a long way.”
Tata Tea is petitioning the HRD Ministry to make sports a compulsory subject in schools, and urging the people to join the movement to bring in a change right from the grassroots. This could be the day when India came together to build a great future in sports – the ball is in your court.