Q. ‘Playing sport in school should be compulsory’. Discuss. By Noor Liza Rashid

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Imagine a school without sport, just school work the whole day,every week,every month,every year. How boring would that be and how unfit would the students appear? They will be obese, unhealthy and tend to get weary of the school routine and studies would become a drag. Now, what would happen if sport was compulsory at every school?If it was compulsory at every school students would be healthy,active and would have more attentiveness and application towards school. They simply wouldn’t just sit the whole day, but would go out and play sports.

Advocates of the topic believe that there is a vital need of including sport in the school’s curriculum. Miss Chamberlain, a teacher to the secondary level,states, “The children have become lethargic! They need a break from work, from the new topics that they learn every day and they need to go out to the school grounds and play sport”.

Playing sports will not only refresh the students but will also help them stay in a physical and mental condition. An obesity graph for children and adults has been growing in the past few years. Students may not know this but if they’re not fit and healthy when they’re young, they will be in even worse health when they get older.Another teacher says, “they’re active during morning time but as the day progresses they become sluggish,apathetic and classes seem tedious and tiresome to them.” A research carried out at Oxford University showed that students participating in sports will have better academic performance than the ones who were not exposed to physical sports.

In retrospect ,the challengers of the topic maintain that sports aren’t necessary to the school curriculum and are simply a waste of time as most of them have never ever  played them in their whole lives. Brad Smith, a student of grade 9, claims, “We come to school to study not to indulge in playful activities. I have never played a single sport in my life and you expect me to waste a whole hour struggling to run and getting hit in the face? I’d be better off in class studying.”

Students would also learn to work as a team and cooperate with each other when playing sport. By participating in sports, teenagers not only get the much needed exercise but also learn skills for life. For example, most of the sports require the team members to co-ordinate and encourage fellow mates to achieve the common goal of winning the game. Interacting with team members and conveying their opinions and ideas will allow them to think and express freely. These skills will eventually make the person an extrovert and help in developing leadership qualities. Making sport mandatory will in particular benefit those students who have a natural talent for it. Mr Ali, a P.E teacher,says, “Sometimes students approach me and leave me surprised. I’ve seen many students unaware of their natural talents. Perhaps they would’ve never known if they hadn’t taken the first step and asked for my help. These are the students that help schools win championships. I sincerely believe that sports in school should become imperative.” 

On the contrary,opponents of the topic argue that participation in such sports leads to embarrassment, resentment and insecurities. They say “Amateur sports are supposed to be about having fun, but try telling that to a sore loser. Sore losers suck all the joy out of playing. Coping with their fragile egos, bad tempers, and antisocial behavior is a challenge. Even if you beat them fair and square, they will imply that you cheated, or make up some excuse to try and take away any sense of achievement that you may feel. It’s not just a young person thing either, if anything, middle-aged men can be the worst sore losers around.”

By including sport in the curriculum, the talented students and those who lack in academics can be encouraged to build a career out of it. Since children get to try their hands on various kinds of sports at school, they can choose the one they feel good at. There are many instances, where children from financially unstable families found their calling in sports while at school. Some of them have excelled in it and become extremely successful. Alex Heyes, a leading football player, agrees, “perhaps if  the teacher hadn’t been absent that day,I would’ve never found my passion for sports.

Getting an opportunity is the right of every student at a school. They need to be given a chance, they need to be tested to know their capabilities and choose what they enjoy and believe what is right for them.”

Some teachers are the critics of the topic and believe that playing sports makes the students inattentive in class. Mrs Hepburn maintains, “There have been times when sport has ruined their entire day , usually because they’ve lost and can’t help thinking about all the mistakes that they made during the match. The players can suffer crippling nerves or anxiety during class in the period leading up to big matches. Some have trouble going to sleep at night  because their bodies and minds are still buzzing. This leads to them being tardy and lazy at school.”

Proponents of the topic feel that teenagers who play sports have become sharper and much more intelligent. Ames Morgan, another famous psychiatrist claims, “teenagers who play sports use different planning strategies while playing and have to make decisions very quickly. This strategy can also be used by them in real life”. Similarly, another study claims that teenagers who play sports in which team strategies are used, they can work better in teams and can communicate with people better and obtain leadership qualities.

Although some people love playing sports, they argue against gamesmanship. A student claims, “Unfortunately, the art of following a narrow and literal interpretation of the rules, while completely disobeying the spirit of them, typically by employing all sorts of dubious ploys and tactics to gain advantage, is alive and well in amateur sports. For those of us who desire the fun or a fair contest, this is a sad state of affairs. I’ve seen more than enough bad behavior by individual players, captains, and teams over the years and the effects are always negative for sport and its appreciation.” 

In conclusion, I feel that the schools should make sports and physical education mandatory in order to keep their students physically and mentally fit and to create awareness about the necessity of exercise in one’s lives. Heywood Broan once said, “Sports do not build character, they reveal it.”

About froebelianwriters

I am an English Language teacher teaching O'Levels Edexcel and CIE A Levels at Froebel's International School, Islamabad. I am also working as a Subject Specialist Literacy consultant for the same school. Writing and reading has always been a passion and I try my utmost to instill these habits and hobbies in my students as well. I can be reached/contacted at fabbas227@hotmail.com or 03365287335 Happy reading!

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