Friday, January 30, 2009


Vince Lombardi's famous saying “Winning isn't the most important thing. It's the only thing” is unfortunately the motto of too many athletes today.

Although winning is important and sports are, and should be taken seriously, by far, winning isn't the only thing.

Play is essential in growth and development. Children who play sports with other children tend to socialize and adjust better as adults. Healthy competition provides a natural, emotional outlet for children, but should not be forced or overemphasized. And competition should be kept friendly with the emphasis on participation rather than the outcome of the event.

Therefore parents should not pressure the child to excel, regardless of his abilities, because this takes away the fun of the sport, adds undo pressure on the participant, and produces unsportsmanlike conduct.

Sportsmanship is participating in a sport, rather than performing, and realizing how you play the game is more important than winning. Too many coaches and parents tend to forget the reason for sports for children. They get caught up in the excitement and competitiveness. Winning is the ultimate goal, at all costs.

But how can we achieve, or even try to achieve all these things? Physical education in schools these days is virtually nil, with the chase to record as many “A’s” being the only reason why children are sent to schools.

During the first Cabinet Committee on Sports meeting held on November 8, 2004, the Minister of Education had stated that school fields will be open for public usage and that ex-internationals will be employed to coach schoolchildren. These remain just words after almost five years. We have a new Sports Minister, but rather then make changes that will benefit sports, he now has started encroaching into the jurisdiction of the National Sports Association’s, with the bodybuilding incident a clear indication that he is not well advised.

If the Sports Minister is truly committed to put right things that are wrong in sports, then he ought to be more open to ideas. Getting the ex football internationals to meet him an hour before he meets FAM on February 4 is is mistake, for that Mr. minister is a photo opportunity but without any real value other then giving you the necessary mileage for PR purposes. Hold an open day, meet those who your adviser's do not want you to meet, get a clearer picture and then lets talk sports.