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All about sport

Jayanti Jha |

It is sad how the word play encompasses so much more than it used to. ‘Playing’ these days covers a lot more than just going out and exerting ourselves.

It is used more in the context of sitting in front of a box with remote controls. And while there is nothing wrong with playing video games- I myself am a big FIFA fan- play stations should not replace the actual act of playing sports, especially team sports. So why is it that teenagers these days go out to play less and are occupied more than ever by television sets and computers?

Is it because they have forgotten the many benefits of exercise? More than anything, the reason for the decline in the engagement of sports is that people are lazy. Most schools do not have sports lessons every day, some even as low as once a week or not at all. Children exert themselves at school all day, and when they get home, they’d rather just ‘chill’. Sadly their definition of chill does not include physical action.

‘Chilling’ is probably the most passive activity in the long list. After a hectic day at school, children are stressed and want to unwind. However what they do not realise is that playing a sport will help them achieve this better than anything else. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins and many other beneficial hormones. Endorphins are chemicals that relieve stress, boost sleep, and cause an overall high or happy feeling.

Playing regularly increases energy levels, lowers blood pressure and improves body strength. Exercising not only makes you look better, it makes you feel better as well. These physical benefits are enough to convince anyone to play, however, the real benefits of sport lie in another aspect.

Games incorporate certain values in us, values that rapidly become integral to who we are. We learn to handle defeat better, work harder and be humble. It is a great way to learn more about ourselves and to see exactly what we are made of. Character building ensues hard and fast in the sporting world. Furthermore, the feeling of belonging to a team is unique. The squad becomes our extended family.

Our teammates stay with us through our triumphs and defeats and are always there to pick us up on our worst days. We find our closest friends among them, people we share a passion with. We can confide in our teammates and our coaches because they understand us.

This shows that playing creates a great support system, which is essential while growing up. If one is fortunate enough to fall in love with a sport, he or she will realise that it is an unconditional kind of love. The more the love for sport, the more it loves us back.

The more effort we put into it every day, the more we will learn and achieve. Most of us know this. Playing sports is great, but like I said, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.

So maybe go out today, go and play the sport you quit in class IX because of too much work. Or maybe, try something completely new. See if you fall in love.

(Ex-Vasant Valley School, New Delhi)