Monday, June 22, 2009

Make Sport Count For Our Kids

There have been a few stories in the Gleaner lately about Jamaica’s success in Athletics and what can be behind it. The consensus is (and I agree) that it is the special emphasis placed on sports in school and the healthy competitive atmosphere that is created in Jamaica.

It got me and HRH talking – why doesn’t the UK do likewise? In the States too they have a very successful system whereby kids who take part in sports and do well can earn scholarships to university – this helps them to get an education so that when or if the body gives out they have a profession for which they are qualified.

Here in the UK the most popular sport in terms of young people wanting to get into it is football. It seems as though extremely young, not particularly well educated boys are taken into this very fast world and then if they are good, get millions of pounds thrown at them. Surely it would be more helpful if they got to the top by moving up through a system that supported them and educated them?

Also, this ridiculous notion that some official and people seem to have that competition is unhealthy is exactly the opposite. Life is competitive – the best win the best get the best. Failing to train out kids to have a healthy competitive advantage does them a great disservice when they go out into the world and does the country an even greater disservice by lumping us with low aspiration, low achievers.

If we want to be the best at anything it’s time to look at others who are successful and learn some key lessons. Let’s face it, the UK is not successful when it comes to sport by design – this is the key point - by design. Those that have done well have done so through their own hard work but I am sure we could have more doing even better if there was a sensible system. Also, we would end up with young people who are educated enough to deal with the massive sums of money they will earn and who will be able to be effective in other areas once their sporting careers are over. Also, with a healthy competitive spirit we would all be the better. Being stretched and challenged to do your best is extremely healthy.

It is worth investigation.

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