By Alex Mathew V:
India is the second largest population in the world. China being the first. At the Olympic games, we usually expect the Chinese to bag most of the medals, and more often than not, people attribute this to their massive population (hence a larger talent pool). If that really were the case, then we should be seeing India score the second highest number of medals. However, we all know the truth to be quite the opposite.
There are several reasons for this, I feel that physical education is not given much importance during the elementary and secondary schooling of the Indian child.
Apart from the few lucky children who have the privilege of going to an International School, the rest of the Indian student population are usually “trained” (do notice the double quotes), by under qualified people who are in the P.E/P.T teacher post only for a salary.
These people are usually hired for their competence in a certain game or sport. What we fail to realize however, is that competence in a game is NEVER the same as being a competent coach.
Although knowledge of a few games and general fitness are required of a coach, they do not make any other person a coach. A coach knows how to teach the sport, how to instill a fighting, persevering sportsman spirit, and most of all, a coach knows how tutor that sports is not about the medal, but about the fight, and about pushing your own limits.
In that light, every activity in life is a sport. We must constantly challenge ourselves to expand our boundaries, and push our limits.
The lack of this kind of training in India is not only what causes us to perform not-so-well in many international events, but also causes many students of other disciplines, whether it be in school or in college to become excessively competitive in an unhealthy and selfish way (competition for more marks in the classroom is usually of this kind). The sportsman spirit is severely lacking in our country today. One direct consequence of this can be seen in the cricket world, which has as much gossip surfing the news and internet as the Indian enterainment industry.
The need of the hour is real qualified sportsmen and coaches in school, and in college in order to impact the students at their very forst step towards sports. We need to pay them well (YES), and give them respect. Physical training must be given the same importance (if not more) as every other subject in school. We must realize that real physical education brings character and moral fiber to a person, through concepts such as fair play.
In this department, we really need to take a few lessons from the international schools. Perhaps then we can not only create better sportsmen, but also a happier and more productive people with a more dashing attitude towards life in general.