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CA Discussion: Prep Notes

August 10, 2010
Sports fan Wants sports in schools to be engaging and entertaining, and to make students interested in sports. Therefore feels that schools and athletes should not prize winning above the sport itself, but recognizes that some competitive element must exist. Feels that maintaining safety is fundamental to making sport enjoyable.

…Okay, cool.

I’m going to type this on my blog and I’m going to print this out today.

A very good afternoon to all of you gentlemen. I am an avid sports fan and I enjoy watching sports in schools (IfYouKnowWhatIMean). I am a firm advocate of emphasizing the importance of sports in the formative years of our youth’s development. The best way to raise a generation of youths who are motivated, goal-oriented and progressive is sports. Thus I emphasize the need to make students interested in sports.

I have noticed a very disturbing trend amongst schools in Singapore today. Due to the government’s meritocratic policies (which I do not disagree with – I am merely pointing out its effects on the situation I am about to illustrate), schools in Singapore tend to place performance in the sport over interest in the sport – that is, an aspiring athlete who wishes to join this or that sport because of his interest is turned down in favor of a more naturally talented but less passionate member of the student body. In other words, prize-winning has superseded what I regard as the original purpose of sports – the building of mind and body. For example, in the school Hwa Chong Institution, a student is barred entry into a competitive CCA if he cannot perform or shows no potential – the latter point which I contend against. CCAs like badminton, track and field and other sports-type CCAs require “auditions” to weed out the students who cannot perform. Naturally, this leads to many students who are passionately interested in that particular sport but just do not perform as well as their peers for a variety of reasons. This is a way of ensuring the CCAs continually perform well every year, bagging prizes and gaining glory for the school. This situation does not just play out in Hwa Chong itself – there are many other schools who take in students based on performance while eliminating the enthusiastic but less able students.

However, I do concede that most sports are in essence competitive – even sedentary sports like bowling and golf compete for point totals –  and that many schools who want to attract talent to them would want to put their best foot forward in the many competitions held. It is a sad byproduct of the meritocratic system in Singapore – here I use the term in a rather unflattering manner – that the above situation is transpiring today. Thus, I feel that the issue of  “Should sports be more or less competitive” is mostly moot. The amount of competition that a sport has cannot be tweaked like some tap on a sink. Sports are innately competitive and any attempt to debate that fact would most likely prove impossible.

Are there serious safety lapses in sports in schools? I would say no, definitely not. The schools hire accomplished coaches who are experienced, and safety lapses only happen in the hands of incompetents. The coach would probably be very careful towards the handling of our nation’s future top athletes. There should be no safety issues in the preparation leading up to the competition. However, there might be safety issues during the competition itself, where tensions run high and the will to win is very strong. There are also inherent safety differences in different sports. A sport like bowling or golf would be much safer than full-contact sports like martial arts and the like.

With regards to the unfortunate incident that happened, I believe that the impressionable young people were too driven by the will to win. I’ve seen otherwise rational fans erupt in to raucous disagreements and shouting at each other – hormone-filled teens fighting against each other hardly seems particularly extreme. Admittedly their behaviour cannot be condoned, but I am simply stating that it is not particularly surprising nor should it be taken as THE DEGENERATION OF SOCIETY AND YOUTH WHICH WILL DOOM US ALL. Deemphasizing the urge to win and is hardly a practical solution because it is human nature to win. Nor is it wise to discount the efforts of our young athletes who have trained so hard. In conclusion, I feel that the schools and the students value winning over fair play and the improvement of self, eclipsing the purpose of sport itself. If even sport is corrupted to be yet another avenue of excellence, where shall we turn to to enjoy ourselves? A healthy urge to win that does not go overboard is the key to enjoying sports regardless of the outcome. If the urge to win was not as strong in the ACS and the St. Andrews’ boys, would there have been a brawl? I THINK NOT.

Thank you.

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