Building Peace thru Sports

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“Sports has the power to inspire”

Sports is the way out, the best option of diplomacy and policy towards solving the problems socially as well as politically. Pakistan stands isolated amongst the comity of nations, thanks to the propaganda campaign by the enemy countries for dubbing the Pakistani society as extremist and intolerant, and for being epicenter of world terrorism. Despite more than 60,000 sacrifices, billions of dollars property damages and economic blows, the propaganda is so strong that we have failed to absolve ourselves both at the diplomatic and societal levels.

The nation as a whole has demonstrated however great resolve to fight this menace and the propaganda campaign but finds no appropriate way to gather under one platform virtually due to lack of leadership and particularly because of its indirect role in governance and crisis management. The talent of our youth has been established in education, sports, and almost all fields. This is one option left to play direct role in bringing hostile nations together, bringing change in the society and keeping two peoples together. The sports dynamic transcends all social, political and ethnic barriers. Its substance crosses educational levels, religious preferences and all language groups. Its magnificent ability to unite people makes sports a powerful communication tool.

We can wriggle out of the current anti-Pakistan environment by encouraging sports. Sports can unite a nation by inculcating the spirit of teamwork. Some of the finest examples of teamwork are found in sports. The way a team plays determines the outcome of a game. Similarly, working as a whole can only put these nations on the right track and help bring peace in the area. Like in any sport one cannot bank on a specific individual to win matches for a team. Chunks of contributions are required from every player.

In hockey, football, one cannot dribble the ball all the way from the half line and pierce through the defences of the opposite side to deposit the ball in the back of the net. He has to pass the ball around to accomplish a successful attempt on the goal. Others should also come and support him for the team's cause. Likewise people should support each other to rise as a nation.

Another example from hockey - if somebody else is more probable to score on a penalty stroke then that player should be allowed to take the penalty. If unbalanced nations like us support each other, not be selfish and only be concerned about our country's progress then they can really thrive. This can also bring harmony to the area.

Sports also teaches how to follow a leader. If a team captain has given a certain role to a player he has to follow the captain's instructions. The team has to follow the strategy devised by the one at the helm of affairs. This washes away the conflicts between players. If every player had its own plan some would not support him which would mar the performance of the team.

Sports trains people to be competitive. They teach not to be at par with others but be the best. Sports play a vital role in making people understand the value of being number one. When a team scores a goal, the other not only tries to equalize it but to go ahead and then pile on the lead. That's when competitive spirit comes into play. Every team wants to attain the top rank, a coveted position in a championship. They have an earnest desire to dominate in the field. For this purpose they practice vigorously and spend long and laborious training sessions. If the element of competitiveness creeps into the minds of our people then we would work hard to look into the eyes of their rivals. If you want to look into the eyes of your opponent, you have to be of his height. Hence, healthy competition would improve the lives of the people.

Sports allows people to be disciplined, learn to respect each other and be ethical. For example during play if somebody trips and falls over, a member of the opposing team approaches him and lends him support to get up. Another great example of discipline is in cricket. When a batsman stops a bowler while he is approaching his delivery stride, then he apologises the bowler and rest of the fielders for the inconvenience. While playing some players may fall into a clash. To cool down the matter another player steps in to clear the air. Also there are some boundaries for the players. Like deliberate physical contact is prohibited. This polishes the players morally.

On achieving some milestone or performing impressively a player is congratulated even by the opponents. A pat on the back is the most common way of appreciating that player. This is how you acknowledge the efforts of others. One more example of a gentleman's behavior is from cricket. Some batsmen, when they are dismissed just walk off the field and do not wait for umpire's decision. This way, by teaching people to be respectful in their approach and morally well shaped can really help bring peace in this country.

Sports makes people feel hopeful and remain positive even in the most stressful and testing circumstances. A good fiery innings can really change the course of a cricket match. On the other hand a good over at a crucial stage can spin the game in the bowling side's favour. Football matches have been also made interesting courtesy goals at crunch times.

Our young blood is not moving in the right direction. They are interested in drug abuse and several other loathsome activities. This is leading to their adoption of violent attitude and some of them become a menace for the society. Sports can serve well to channelize their energies to be used for the benefit of the country. Sports will help to extract the most from their abilities.

Sports can indoctrinate the idea of population control in the minds of the masses. Only a certain number of players can be accommodated in a field. Twenty two players can only be transfused in the hockey field, eleven from either team. Squash is only played between two players. And only five players are allowed to play in the basketball court from each side. Population control can help trample violence.

Beth Ander says, "In our lives we will encounter many challenges, and tomorrow we face one together. How we accept the challenge and attack the challenge head on is only about us – no one can touch that. If we win or lose this weekend, it will not make a difference in our lives. But why we play and how we play will make a difference in our lives forever."

Sports can manage the society beautifully. Organizing people is intrinsic to sports. Sports are most efficient when it comes to controlling a society. By promoting sports women will also be introduced in play. They can become confident and good mothers nurturing a healthy community.
Summing up with the noble words of Nelson Mandela, “Sports has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”


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