Are Indians Competitive? You Bet We Are!
Why are we so good at academically prosperous activities and not so great at competitive sports? Do we as citizens of this country not value sporting excellence?
Let’s begin with the last Olympic Games. For starters, let’s take a long hard look at exactly what we as a country have achieved. We won exactly two medals. That’s right, just two. One silver and one bronze! For a nation of more than a billion people, we aren’t making the right use of our talent. It’s just not happening.
Look, absolute respect to the athletes, because as far as they are concerned, they are the yardstick that every future Indian wrestler or badminton player will have to measure themselves up to. They have opened up more avenues for young, aspiring athletes than ever before. But this isn’t about them as individuals; this is about us as a people!
Some might say that Indians aren’t a competitive lot and they’d be completely wrong in that assessment. We are incredibly competitive, almost to the point of insanity. Just look at how the neighbourhood aunty argues with the vegetable seller every morning. If that’s not a shouting competition, I don’t know what is? But on a more serious note, we have that ‘drive’ but it’s just that we aren’tbeing driven to the right disciplines.
Take a look at cricket, for example. Some could say that India is the best cricketing nation in the world, and they might just be right. We’re excellent at the game. When we’re on, the Indians crush most other countries when it comes to cricket. But why are we lagging behind in almost all other sports?I personally think that we as a people tend to latch on to things that we are good at and that itself is a big issue. How do you get good at something if there really is no avenue for a real career? A kid on the street can aspire to be a great cricketer in this country, but if he wants to be a boxer or a swimmer, there is only so far he or she can go. And there are only so many people they can actually look upto.
It really isn’t a matter of competitive spirit as it is a problem of where to channel that said drive. All around the world, Indians are known to be incredibly competitive when it comes to hitting the books. We’re smashing tests around the world, winning spelling bees and national quizzes all over the place. We’re even awesome at chess! Even in our very own backyard, just look at the sheer number of students who apply to institutes such as IIT and IIM. They’re beating their bodies, minds and each other down just to get into these institutions!
Why is that though? It’s a question we as Indians must ask ourselves. Why are we so good at academically prosperous activities and not so great at competitive sports? Do we as citizens of this country not value sporting excellence?