The Plight of Budding Sportspeople

Remember that cricketer who failed his matriculation or the swimmer that dropped out of school? Sportspersons failing their exams or dropping out is not very unusual or unheard of. On the contrary, it is pretty commonplace. A sport requires a lot of practice and sometimes a person has to spend hours, in the end, to achieve perfect command over the technicalities. Such exhaustion renders a person incapable of doing anything other than sleep after a training session.

Studies in schools become increasingly tough after the 9th grade. Even studious kids find it difficult to cope up. It becomes a challenge for these young sportsmen to even pass their exams. The government had to introduce policies to help these struggling students. After a lot of deliberation, the sports quota was introduced. The thought behind this was to award deserving sporting talents a better and more fulfilling college education.

Yet, I believe the quota has not solved the problem. Instead of making these young sportspersons serious about their education, they have become even more indifferent towards their studies. The decision has been counterproductive as it has caused more harm than good. A student who is neglecting their studies and is only relying on their sporting talent is in for a rude awakening when they enter college.

Someone who is not regular or is completely disinterested in their studies somehow lands a seat in a top-notch college with the most difficult course because of a quota. This is unfair to other students, especially for those who have spent hours on end to secure a seat in a prestigious college. It is also going to be a shock for the sportsperson who bagged a seat with minimal marks when they look at the curriculum. For that individual, graduating from college will be an insurmountable task.

Instead of honing their skills, they would be forced to study throughout the day to keep up with their peers. They would also be the subject of mockery among other kids who have bagged a seat fair and square. How can a person reach their potential in such conditions?

But can’t these budding sportspeople study? Are they so average that they can’t even understand simple concepts? I strongly disagree. Sportspersons are anything but average. Sports requires a tremendous amount of intelligence, aptitude and observational skills. No matter how hard you work and how well you plan, there is always a factor of uncertainty that is unforeseeable, which can either result in failure or a career-threatening injury. We can study in the comfort of our rooms but in sports, a person has to practice under the blazing sun or amongst the blistering cold winds.

It is quite evident that players not studying properly is not a lack of intelligence but a lack of will and proper planning. They fail to see the pivotal role that education plays in their life and also in their performance. An educated player always has a better understanding of the game and will never fall prey to the evils of doping and substance abuse. It is easier for the bad apples to exploit uneducated players.

Time and again, the world has seen highly educated individuals dominate the playing field. Players like Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have proved that a person can excel at sports and studies at the same time. If they did it, why can’t the others? People need not always look at sports as a career option. It can also be viewed as a way of life. Sports teaches many valuable lessons that help an individual grow as a person. Determination, perseverance, integrity, humility, discipline are some of the many qualities that are required in sports. Education and sports are not two entirely different dimensions but two sides of the same coin. Both of them are equally important for the complete development of a child into an individual. Studious sportspersons exist. Though they’re not typical social butterflies and are not visible in crowds due to their hectic schedules, these people represent the best of both worlds — sports and education.