Education means full development of the human personality and attainment of full stature. Man has a body, a mind and a spirit. Accordingly education aims at the physical, intellectual and spiritual and moral development of man. Education merely does not give knowledge to a human being and to enable him to earning his livelihood; but it does much more than this.
Education cannot ignore the physical side of man. Man has been blessed with a beautiful body. Poets, painters and sculptors have gone into raptures over the human body and have tried to depict it in their arts in many ways. Games are a means of keeping the body healthy and fit. Physical fitness from all kinds of ailments is the desire and ambition of every human being. Indeed, good health is first condition of happiness in life. Those who play games generally maintain good health.
Games are also a source of recreation or pastime. Education teaches a man the need of recreational activities. The essence of a recreation is that it should refresh both the body and the mind, and provide a means of escape from one’s professional or scholarly pursuits. When one is playing golf or billiards or badminton or table-tennis, one becomes forgetful of everything else and gets absorbed in the games. Thus games are very useful as a diversion for the mind.
Games also provide a kind of training for the mind. Most games today are a matter of high skill and ripe judgement. Hockey, football, cricket and other games are not just a matter of physical exertion and exercise. Proficiency in these games is acquired after a long practice. The player must acquire the art of playing a game. Every game, therefore, contributes to the development of the mind and the judgement of a player. Good players show a lot of mental alertness and ingenuity while playing.
Fair play is a noble moral quality when practiced in political dealings. The quality is best inculcated in human beings through games. The habit of fair play makes a man love honesty, integrity and justice which are great moral qualities.
Games also teach the lesson of accepting a defeat on the play field with a smiling face. A defeated player shakes hands with his victorious opponent and even offers him congratulations.
Defeat does not dishearten or depress a true sportsman. On the contrary, it provides an incentive for a greater effort. This lesson also is bound to prove useful to a man in the wider sphere of life. Life has its misfortunes, woes, failures, but a man with a tough character is not daunted by these.
Games make a man tough and thus enable him to withstand the “slings and arrows” of fortune. Games teach certain other lessons as well. They teach team-spirit or the spirit of mutual cooperation; they teach the value of unity or united effort; they teach the necessity of always obeying the orders of the captain or the leader.
All these are valuable lessons which prepare man to live correctly and nobly. Education aims at building up character, and character includes all the qualities mentioned above. Thus the value of games in forming and moulding character is very great. Education aims too, at developing qualities of leadership in human beings. The qualities of leadership are developed most effectively and fruitfully through games.