Sports specially the outdoor ones in the rural Indian context, is still a sought activity as compared to the urban Indian scenario. With the coming of digital and battery operated toys for the children, the urban childhood is lost behind the closed walls immersed in the indoor activities. To a great extent the virtual world has taken over the real parks and fields. Also the studies and peer pressure is one reason why the urban childhood is suppressed behind the walls. But, those that have to choose sports over other activities aspire to excel and live their dreams. With the help of coaching and facilities available they get the right direction to prove their worth. While the children from the villages and the smaller towns are involved more in outdoor activities and games as compared to those living in the bigger cities and metro even at the school levels the participation in sports is higher in the rural areas than the cities, but still, they do not always get the right guidance and means to realize their dreams. The villages thus are superseded by the cities and metros as they do not usually play the commercial games but the indigenous ones like wrestling, shooting, kabaddi, gilli-danda etc.
Is sports commercialized in India and is confined to cricket and football?
To a great extent yes there is a huge fan following of the cricketers specially. Football is also a preferred game to be watched on the TV screens because of the world cups and commercialization. The national game of India is hokey but it is neglected as compared to cricket or football. As the commercial games do not only have monitory involvement at stakes but also the sportsmen are highly paid to be kept motivated to deliver the best. People consider that a few potential games like Kabaddi and swimming are being overlooked to promote the games that involve huge amounts of monies.
Can the sports serve as the game changer for the rural Indian Youth? Of course, it can. The leisure time can be used not only to develop skills but also to keep oneself fit and away from addiction. The more outdoor activities the youth is indulged in the more he is fit physically. Health benefit is one thing but there are many other ways where youth from the rural India can be benefitted with the help of sports.
- Sports keeps them connected with the bigger units as they get to see the world outside their villages by way of playing at the district levels, state levels and also National and International levels.
- Active participation in sports can get them into government jobs through the sports quota.
- The basic learning one can acquire from sports is the sportsman spirit, this not only helps in personal grooming and development of the player but also a team spirit of the community as a whole.
- The rural India has to still undergo a huge transformational phase as people need to come out of the shells and fragmentations based on the caste system. But in the recent times people coming from the small and remote places has not only proved their potential but have also earned respect for their native places and the remote places become famous.
- Sports teach the importance of teamwork and equality which is an integral part of better living, so the sports can help in bringing harmony amongst the fragmented rural youth.
How can the resources be better utilized for development and growth?
- By setting up of more sports complexes at the smaller places with all modern facility.
- By recruiting the right people to train and guide.
- By giving sports other than the already famous ones more recognition at the state and National levels.
- Through conducting regular motivational events and competitions to promote the hidden talents and by rewarding the same adequately.
- The other indigenous sports should be given importance so that they can be promoted and conserved.
In the recent past it has been observed that the athletes have done exceptionally well, players in lesser known and promoted sports like Boxing, Wrestling, Archery, Weight lifting, Badminton, tennis and Swimming etc. have also proved their worth by winning Medals at the Olympics. And one thing to be observed and appreciated is that these sportsmen usually come from the remote areas and have really struggled through their ways to achieving. So it is not only the responsibility but the duty of the Government to promote and provide facilities to the hidden talents so that they get a chance to showcase their capabilities and get the recognition that they deserve. For which they actually dedicate their entire lives.
Sports can certainly prove to be a game changer not only in the lives of the aspiring sports-persons but also the positive examples that are set before the eyes of many who would follow will save the coming generations from the malpractices carried out in the remote areas like child marriages, drug addictions, bonded slavery and many unknown practices that have been exercised since eons.
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