Sports – A Testament to the Indomitable Human Spirit
Born on 29th August 1905, Major Dhyan Chand Singh is regarded by many as the greatest Field Hockey Player in History. He started off as a soldier in the British Indian Army, and then went on to become ‘The Magician of Hockey’ we know today. It was his numerous victories in International Hockey that led to the establishment of Hockey as India’s National Sport.
In 2012, the Government of India declared 29th August as the National Sports Day, to commemorate the legend of the ‘Wizard of Hockey’ who brought India three consecutive Olympic Gold Medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936 ( a hat-trick !) and, encouraged the Youth of India to take up Sports for a healthy and better future. Since then, every year India has celebrated National Sports Day on the 29th of August with great enthusiasm and this year’s theme is “Sports are an enabler to an Inclusive and Fit Society”.
The Oxford Definition of Sport is – “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” But in this Digital era where everyone is plagued by diseases and ailments, Sports are not for “entertainment” anymore; They are a necessity for leading a healthy and stress-free life. So to promote Sports Activities across the length and breadth of the nation, on the 29th of August the President on behalf of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports bestows the prestigious National Sports Awards, Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award being the highest, in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Delhi to the Sports people and coaches who have contributed significantly in the sphere of Sports.
To celebrate the 12th National Sports Day, Anurag Thakur (Union Minister of Sports) also launched the Third edition of the Fit India Quiz to spread awareness about the importance of Sports and Fitness in our day-to-day lives and a National Sports Federations portal, in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Standing in 2023, India can proudly claim to be at the zenith of her glory in sports, though she still has a long way to go. From the Javelin-wielder Neeraj Chopra and 18-year old chess prodigy Praggnanandha who locked horns with Norwegian chess mastermind Magnus Carlsen to the ace archer Aditi Gopichand Swami, Cricket-Star Virat Kohli, and the mighty wrestler Antim Panghal, India has achieved tremendous success in numerous sports sectors and has become dominant in this field.
The Mind and the Body must be running parallelly in a mutual symbiosis to impart a healthy life to you. The Body can be considered as the Glass Container holding the Milk of Mind. If somehow, there develops a crack in the Jug and it breaks, the Milk will spill over. That is, to say, if the Body is inflicted with some defects, then however strong you are, you’ll mentally break down and won’t be able to do anything productive. That’s why Swami Vivekananda once said “You will be nearer to heaven through Football than through the study of the Gita”, for he had realized that a healthy intellectual will be able to contribute more towards nation-building than an unhealthy Prodigy.
One of the most important factors that nourishes the Youth into Potential Human Resources for the country is Healthcare. If we want to have effective tools for Nation-building in the Future then we must induct Sports into the regular routine of every youth in India, for Sports is the only way to achieve a Healthy Body and Mind. Sports not only teach us the art of Teamwork but also make us determined and confident to face challenges in life.
Being associated with some Sport does not always mean that you have to become a Sindhu or Kohli, it simply means that you have to enjoy what you’re doing and keep a smile on your face under all odds and circumstances. Your Physique is what defines your character. Mark my words- A man with a good Character will have a healthy figure, but a wicked man will bear a poor and lanky frame. Sports is also something that brings together people of different religions, countries, creeds, and social backgrounds, and binds them with the brotherly thread that whispers to them that they have only one identity- They are Sportsmen. Just imagine, the situation in 1999- On one hand, the Kargil War is making the Earth red with the blood of the martyrs, and on the other hand, Sachin Tendulkar is tearing apart Wasim Akram’s bowling in a friendly match in the Cricket Stadium – Such is the Power of universal Brotherhood that sports radiates that even two warring countries put aside their differences In the Sports Field.
If we want to contribute towards our Nation in any career of our choice, we first need to have a healthy body and mind, and to achieve that we need Sports as our guide. On this National Sports Day let us promise to ourselves that we will devote at least one hour from our so-called busy schedule and pursue some form of Sports, may it be yoga or a full-fledged game like Table Tennis, and get rid of stress once and for all. Sports is after all a testament to Human potential, a celebration of the indomitable human spirit – as Sachin Tendulkar aptly described it- “When people throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones.”
Happy National Sports Day to everyone! May the true fighting spirit residing in all athletes manifest itself as your confidence and willpower, making you the great person you are destined to become.
Debadrita Paul, VIII A