Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sports or studies? A Difficult choice

In our country a lot of premium is placed on education. Every parent works towards seeing to it that their children get a good education, get admissions in good colleges or professional institutes. Ultimately the dream of every parent is to see their children well placed professionally with a decent standard of living.

As parents we encourage them to participate in all sports activities, enroll them into professional coaching centres during holidays or even on a regular basis. We wish our children to have a balance in studies as well as extra curriclar activities.

Conflict arises when we find that our children are interested a lot in a particular sport and would like to pursue it. What do we do? Till they are in their ninth grade we still feel we can go along with this, provided they do averagely well in their studies. But what does one do when the child enters tenth? Crucial years ahead . Future of the child depends on the performance of the child in the next two years.

Suddenly we as parents start pressurising the child to hang up their sports kit and open more of their school books. In these competitive times, the stress on the child is more whether they like it or not.

Unlike western countries where sports can be chosen as a fulltime profession, it is a different scenario in our country where the need for quality education is of paramount importance. A sports person's career on the other hand is fraught with risk and uncertainty. In addition to this, more often than not, the sportsmen / sportswomen end up facing the wrath of politicisation of priorities at every level. These situations are alien to parents for whom the only goal they can see is of their child's success.

I know if all parents thought this way there would never have been Tendulkars, Sania Mirzas or Gagan Narangs. There is an inherent conflict here. On the one hand, how will we ever know if my child can take up sport as a career if we do not even support our children's pursuit by giving it a lot of time, energy and most importantly money to practice? And on the other hand, God forbid, if they do not make it, how will the child handle it? And how would we as parents handle it. The time spent will never come back. Starting something new all over again is a difficult proposition. A very difficult choice indeed for a parent.

What do you think?

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