Hey guys, I am really sorry for this rant. Today I simply can’t keep myself away from it. I just can’t take the blame game anymore which we like to play as a society. Every now and then we come across “Government of India never cares about its sportspersons” stories in a form of sad photos of the plight of our national and sometimes international champions of sports other than cricket on our social media feeds. It’s true that they are in despair, many of them are struggling even to earn the living, but these social media posts do nothing than pointing fingers at politicians and government. The attitude of “मायबाप सरकार” runs through Indian mindset and it has rooted deep inside. We need to change the focus.
We need to change. We hardly watch any sports on television other than cricket and sometimes football. We don’t even think about or dream about watching the sports event live in a stadium if it’s not a cricket. In cricket, the circle is complete. There are fans, who go and watch, they go and watch so sponsors put the money in. Money is in so facilities are good, which in turn makes players to put the efforts and do well. When players/team does well, it earns a lot. But in other sports, the picture is not that pretty. Everyone waiting for someone else to take the initiative.
Pro Kabaddi has managed to make a strong entry and has got a significant following on television coverage but on the other hand badminton league in India is struggling. Even ISL teams have to take help of local fan clubs of Europian football clubs to get the following.
Government help for the sports is no doubt crucial. In fact, every district organizes the sports tournament, mini (micro) Olympic in itself. Winners from those tournaments move ahead to State and then to the National events. The central government has many training centers spread across the country. Maybe their condition is not that great. Some of them might be lacking some infrastructure. There is no point in denying the fact that these efforts are not enough for our huge country. Let’s not forget, the government has a limited money to spend, which we give them as taxes and a part which multilateral funding agencies put in.
There are some people working to make a change. Reliance Foundation is working on promoting the sports in India through their “Youth Sports” initiative. Organizing hundreds of events for football in 32 cities and athletics in 16 cities around the country is a big step forward in itself. Sports for all in Mumbai doing a great job of organizing 2-week sports fair in December where 35000 school kids participated in 2016 events.
It’s time for us to take up our share of responsibility, not just share on social media. I am making it a point to start acting on this. From this new year, 2018, I am making it a point to go and watch these local sports events from the city. Come, join me for some sporting events and let’s enjoy that cheerful spirit in a stadium.