- Basic good of sport.
- Development of the idea of sport.
- National aspects of “sports.”
- The sporting spirit.
Basic good of sport:
Plato, the great Greek idealist, when delineating the factors which went on the form his “Perfect State” on whose pattern all the imperfect and incomplete states of this mundane world were to be fashioned, gave a prominent piece to the “idea” of “sports, not for the sake of reward but for the purpose of giving a free and unrestricted play to the social instinct in man.” Man, as he defined him, is a social animal, and the “sports arena” according to him is a convenient and suitable rendezvous where people can gather and exercise instinct which has differentiated man from the animals of a lower state of intelligence. The “Rationality” and “Sociability” of man, run “in a circle” i.e., they are the ’cause’ and ‘effect of each other, Whether “Rationality” breeds “Sociability” or “Sociability” gives birth to “Rationality” is as enigmatical as the riddle or “hen from the egg or egg, from the hen.”
Development of the idea of sport:
Sport then consisted mostly of wrestling, boxing, duelling and other games, for which the present day universities have not very generously set apart “half blues.” The world is moving at a rapid pace,and the change that has come over the “complexion of sports and games” since the early days of ‘Greek Mythology is anything but little’. Change can be either for the worse or for the good. Rashdall the ethical teacher of the 20th century, bas formulated a very convincing “touch stone” for the judging of the relative advantageous or disadvantageous position of the “turn of affairs.” He says “the circumstances and environments, which bring into play the whole nature of man are of more value to the human race than the “adjuncts” which evoke a few, important or unimportant, instincts in human beings.” When we evaluate present day “sports and games” in the world in the light of the above criterion, it is not very difficult to clearly see that the change in this sphere of human affairs has been definitely for the betterment and strengthening of human race. Present-day games, like tennis, cricket, hockey, football, etc. help to develop all that is best and healthiest in man. Do they not provide food for every valuable instinct in man? Instinct, as is well-known suffers atrophy through disuse. Hasn’t the world and the human race stood to gain by keeping alive the best springs of human action? The answer to all the queries is an unqualified “yes.”
National aspect of sports:
Further, national consciousness which is a vital factor in the rejuvenation of a nation is either the result of an established superiority in the field of “intellect” or in the field of “sports.” In present-day international matches managed between various countries, a single victory scored by the representative of one “still backward” country over another “civilised race” means the awakening of the dormant and suppressed potentialities of a nation.
Of what inestimable value is this “national consciousness” to the building of a nation, needs no comment. All aspects of human life are interlocked awakening in one sphere means the resonance of the same tune over all the strings of life. Just as the general efficacy of men does not depend upon the exceptional development of one of the A bodily limbs but is dependent upon the harmonious working of all the limbs together, similarly, no amount of national consciousness aroused. in the sphere of “intellect” can be sufficient in itself to bring a nation to the forefront “it needs a supplement; and that is best provided by the “consciousness“ aroused the field of “games and sport.”
The sporting spirit:
We may further support our philosophical and theoretical plea for the encouragement and advancement of games, by referring to particular countries in which sports have played a leading role in the vitalization of a nation. England provides a convenient example. Cricket, football and tennis have done little less to infuse that spirit of “go-ahead and advance fearlessly than any political theories of “Capitalism” and “Imperialism.” These games provide a man with the rare and most estimable qualities of “playing fair” and “never hitting below the belt.” The “sporting spirit” as they call it, is of no mean advantage to the dauntless progressor. It breeds confidence and a rational outlook of life.