‘A sound mind in a sound body’ goes the saying. Keeping fit bodily is very essential. One of the objects of sports is, of course, bodily exercise.
The health of the body is essential for success in life. An unhealthy man is always sad, gloomy and loses confidence in himself. To keep healthy, one must take an active part in sports. Thus sports ensure good health and build a fine physique. If one is bodily fit, one feels capable of hard endeavour and life without endeavour is useless.
The great advantage of sports is that they combine exercise with thrill, excitement and sensation. In order that we should readily take exercise, it should be made interesting and, as everybody knows, practically all kinds of games devised by man possess a certain degree of interest Hockey, football, cricket, tennis, badminton, rowing, swimming-all these and others not only give exercise to the limbs but also provide a good deal of excitement and entertainment.
Besides, the competitive element in sports is a source of thrills for the mind. Not only the players, but the spectators feel engrossed in a game because of its suspense and unexpected turns. It is for these reasons that sports form a very important part in education.
Not only has this, sports affected the mind also. Almost every game requires a certain degree of skill to play. Skill is a mental quality. Physical vigour alone is not enough in games like golf, cricket and tennis. Certain dexterity is also needed.
Sports also allow one to utilise his leisure. All work and no play make a person dull. Sports are an interesting and entertaining pastime. Most of the games are quite inexpensive too.
There are also other considerations which place sports in an important place in life. It is usually by taking part in sports that we cultivate what is called the spirit of sportsmanship. This spirit of sportsmanship is an excellent quality in a man and consists of fair play, sense of discipline, capacity for team work and cooperation, and confidence in oneself that enables one to accept a defeat cheerfully.
A sportsman playing on the field is not expected to play foul, he must cooperate and, finally, if his team suffers a defeat he must not lose self-confidence but must shake hands with his adversaries cheerfully. When a sportsman has acquired these qualities on the playground, he will naturally exhibit them in the wider sphere of life.
If he has truly imbibed the lessons taught to him by sports, he will be very honest and fair in his dealings with other people; he will never hit his enemies below the belt: he will always obey his superiors; he will never feel heart-broken on account of the disappointments. If he shows these qualities in his general conduct, he has learnt how to live truly. His life is successful and he will be admired everywhere.
Sports also brings with it healthy competition. The competitive instinct is natural in man and demands outlets. Sports have wide scope for the competitive instinct, matches and tournaments and contests are held to put to test the skill, toughness, stamina and endurance of various participants.
Medals and other awards are an incentive to players to achieve excellence and a high standard of performance in their respective fields. The healthy spirit of rivalry and competition constantly leads to improvement in the performance, and previous records are constantly excelled or surpassed.