Losing the sport spirit – manilastandard.net

The pandemic is taking too much from us. The time that it has stolen, the lives it has shortened, the opportunities that it has reduced are reshaping the future for everyone. Amongst all of us, although they are the most silent ones, it is the youth that may be most affected. SPORTS IS AN INTEGRAL TOOL IN CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT The shift to online learning and its peripheral adjustments has reduced any socializing activity close to nothing. Sports is one of them. It is a fact that sports is a crucial factor of human life.Involvement in sports, or in more general terms, any experience of competition, has proven to provide physical, mental and social benefits. If at all, just the fun one gets to have by being involved in sports should be enough. Anything that resembles the chance to compete and be involved in any person to person contests provide long lasting usefulness. Sports is ingrained in government policies all over the world because of its significance to nation building. Participating in sports builds within each individual natural abilities related to goal setting, planning and strategy formulation and teamwork. Competition teaches one to face adversity and instills virtues of winning with grace and losing with dignity. THE ABSENCE OF SPORTS One year into the pandemic, the country once again grimaces from the declaration of another lockdown. Effectively, sports, particularly at the grassroots level have exponentially been negatively affected. The University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, two of the biggest college based leagues in the country cancelled all sports competition in March of 2020 and has extended the closure in 2021. This means that student athletes from high school to college have lost their chance to represent their schools in top level play for two years in a row. Sports is fundamentally absent in schools as learning in front of a computer screen, at home, on a chair or stool is now the norm.  Students who are away from classmates and friends are living each day practically alone. The opportunity to associate, work with people, communicate and grow as an individual in a group is now gone. Summertime, which is when most parents enroll their children in sporting activities, has ceased to exist two years in a row.  If we as parents do not recognize the potential crisis and be complacent, the future generation may not be completely equipped with the demands of life. Knowing the importance of sports, the lack of it and its ensuing effect on the youth is worrisome. FIGHTING FOR THE FUTURE It is challenge enough for parents to guide their children by merely conversing and talking to them. In this gadget and internet-centric virtual age, this becomes much more challenging.  Without the benefit of sports experience may lead to missing several life lessons. We cannot blame our circumstances. We can, however, do what we can knowing that a focused effort will go a long way as we prepare our children for the future. Here are some tips to instill a measure of sports back into their lives. 1. Lay down the gadgets  Establish a no-gadget time and replace it with physical games. The key is to make these physical games exciting enough for them to let go of their gadgets. The more fun playing is, the more time they will stay away from their gadget. 2. Organize your day together  Planning is key to winning. Begin your mornings by waking up early and spending time to talk about the day.  Include, in the planning sports activities that you and your child will be doing. Make it interesting so they look forward to it.  Allow them to decide which games they want to play but make it a habit to always integrate it in the daily schedule. 3. Validate the importance of sports Children and games go hand in hand. As an adult, even if it feels counterintuitive, understand that you are doing it for your child’s future.  Play games that are apt for the space you have, the interest of your child and of course it should be something familiar to you. Relive and teach your childhood local games like patintero, sipa, luksong tinik, Chinese garter, or even jolens. Teach them the value of strategy, or teamwork. Allow them to know how it feels to win and lose. Do all these by playing and genuinely enjoying the moments. 4. Enjoy watching sports  There are athletic events that are now waking up and can be seen on TV networks.  I am sure that not all of these sports would be interesting. However, tough times like these call for extra effort.  It also should not matter if you have viewed it in the past or that you already know the outcome. The point is for them to see through you the substance that sports provide. Lead them into watching endearing, interesting and inspiring moments. LOVE THEM ENOUGH TO GIVE THEM THE TOOLS FOR LIFE Whether they participate as an athlete, a weekend warrior or as a spectator, sports metaphors will resonate in their spirits. The learnings will rise up in times of need. Their experience will be remembered in moments when they most need it.  The future of our youth and our nation lies in the balance. —oOo— Mike Ochosa is an avid sportsman.  He has written for various broadsheets and on line publication providing his thoughts and insights on various sports.  He is a freelance TV boxing analyst having sat ringside in 14 of Pacquiao’s fights and for various international sports networks as well. He was President of Punchout Boxing Club and is currently President and Program Director of Philippine Habagat Baseball.   Follow him on social media: Website: mikeochosa.com FB: https://www.facebook.com/coachmikeochosa/,  IG:@coachmike.O  Twitter account, https://twitter.com/mikeochosa

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