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Sports: a teacher for life

Arihan Singh

Arthur Wellesley, the famous Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon, once said “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton”. What he meant was that Britain’s superiority was due to its sporting tradition and values. Today, it is well recognized by all that sportsmanship is an education in itself. I will briefly dwell on some key lessons that we learn from sports.

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Discipline, Commitment and Perseverance:

No skill is attained without effort. However, effort alone is not enough. It calls for disciplined effort. The ability to gain control over one's mind and body by constant endeavour is discipline. Without disciplined repetition, mastery of a sport is not possible. Devoid of tenacity and perseverance no one can rise to the top. Every sportsperson, no matter how great, has to face defeat and learn to overcome it. Mental strength counts even more than physical strength. One must have the grit and the ability to aspire for victory even when faced with defeat.

Teamwork and humility:

Teamwork is a vital ingredient in sporting success. The spirit of ‘one for all’ and ‘all for one’ is what makes champions. Learning to work as a part of a team teaches us listening skills, empathy and selflessness. Some believe that every great nation or economy in the world has a strong culture of promoting team sports. Success in the modern world comes when we realize that one of us can’t be as smart as all of us.

Leadership and constant learning:

Playing sports makes one develop the ability to see things as they are, form a plan of action, recognize one’s strengths and weaknesses, make quick decisions and give one’s all for victory. To excel in sports, it is necessary to learn constantly. A coach is critical to success. Likewise, in life, all leaders also know how to be followers and great success is the outcome of great coaching and mentoring.

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