Sports all the way
Blog :Life and Times in Bangalore
Date: 7/1/2012 6:30:11 PM
As we count down to the Olympics, the sports stories start coming. I love a sports story – haven’t met one I don’t love. From a Lance Armstrong to a Mary Kom, it is always love at first thought with sports. From the belief that it is the one real way our children learn life skills in daily life, the most powerful medium I know to simulate real life environments for better decision making and the most real achievement for someone who does not believe in themselves as much as they need to, just the straight personal stories of how sportspeople face down their demons in the pursuit of their passion gets me at the gut.
Mary Kom I am in love with today. A 5 time boxing champ from India and we barely knew her. I am not a fan of boxing, wrestling et al as sports. This woman’s story though is something else, her spirit attracts only admiration. Now a mother of twin boys who ends up having to spend time away from them in training, a husband who is behind her all the way, a state that has given her a job as DSP in the police force (she’s not touched that salary – using it for her academy, training women and men…some national junior/sub-junior champs already), this story is one that tells us of extraordinary people who live to achieve something beyond our ordinary. Most of the time, they have much less in resources than most middle class Indians do. And still stake it all.
Then there’s a Deepika Kumari in archery, another world cup gold winner. Her dad is an auto driver, mom is a nurse. They’ve refused to even move out of their old home to a better place, saying ‘you win the olympic medal and we’ll do whatever you say!’ There are your Malleshwaris and Anju Bobby Georges from before, still working in the sport for India…that dream now stronger in their desire to be instrumental in a different way to earn glory to India…a more behind the scenes way, as needed as it is unglamourous.
What is the pull with sports? The primal achievement of going beyond what bone and sinew are supposed to, the undeniability of it – either you won or you didn’t, the way all your work for years either shows or not in one instant, the underlying hard work – the unsaid support from a team and mundane, unsung foot-in-front-of-foot work every day?
All this and to me, one more stands out: the clear impact of physical activity on the brain in ALL areas necessary for cognitive work. The sheer need for the physical to be okay enough first to even function well in any sphere and then the correlation that we take for granted – every time that ladder is climbed with ’round fingers’, that pencil grip is being worked on. Every time one feints one side and moves in another, the right and left sides of the brain are linking together like little else provides.
Yes, piano kinda takes over on bi-lateral brain link ups but only on the foundation that sports builds on. Without gross motor skills, fine motor skills are a far off dream. And without fine motor skills (built by structured activity, refined only be the number of times it is done), fine cognition is in dream land only. So let’s not diss that structured sports time – it is most play way of working every muscle out, including the brain!
A fit and able body reflects the brain pretty accurately. Unfortunately this also means, I have to get going a lot more. Our home will be loudly cheering these athletes and more later this month. Watching the highlights every night is something we did with the kids last time – bedtimes are relaxed (once in 4 years is not that rigid, huh?) and we all cheer, read the papers every day and anticipate. Looking forward to it! How about you?
Have a great week ahead!