Sports and Games
The first use of sports and games is that they improve physical ‘health. Modern medical research reveals that lack of physical exercise can lead to coronary heart diseases. Running, for instance, makes one use all the muscles of the body, including those of the abdomen. It assists one in doing more work without much loss of energy. This is the reason why athletes run long distances without proportionately increasing their heart rates, but those who have flabby muscles pant even after a light physical exertion.
Sports and games teach men to work together and, therefore, encourage corporate discipline. A football or a hockey team has to learn teamwork. Each one in the team realizes that he should always play for the good of his side.
The games and sports of the country are a part of its education. Besides providing infinite realization, they help to promote good fellowship among people and make them strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield. Games like chess sharpen our intellect. The gigantic Stadia of the world, where even hostile nations meet and show mutual respect, are centres of amiability and friendliness. They spread the doctrines of justice and-fair play.
Sport teaches us to take our defeats with good grace and to have no ill-will against the victors. This is called sportsmanship. Sport makes life pleasant not only for our own selves, but also for those with whom we have to deal.
Sport is sometimes thought to be a mere waste of time, but that is not true. A struggle for existence awaits man. He must have a strong body, a keen eye and a capacity to compete with his friends, if he is to come successfully through his struggle.
Centuries ago, the Greeks recognized the significance of sports and game. They crowded from all over Greece to the Olympic Games held once in every four years. The chief and the only event was the “Stadium” or foot race of 200 yards. The winner of the prize for this race was regarded as the greatest man in Greece. Other contests were added later. Women were not allowed to take part in, or attend, the Games which lasted five days. The Games were abolished in A.D. 394.
The revival of the Olympic Games is a result of the sincere effort by a Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin. He realized the necessity of physical development, which should go hand in hand with mental development. In 1888 he founded an organization to popularize physical education in the schools and colleges in France. He went to Olympia. While walking amidst the rubble of that, once great city, he dreamed of reviving the Games. His dream was realized in 1896. Baron de Coubertin was also responsible for shaping the ideals as well as creating most of the rules and rituals of the modern Olympics. Women have bee, participating in the Games since 1912. Since 1896, Olympic Games are organized every four years. Held in all parts of the world, the last Olympic Games were organized in Athens in 2004. The Olympics are not only an occasion for nations to exhibit their athletic standards, but a means of promoting international peace.