The annual college sports are an important event in academic life. Sports are a pleasant relief from an obsession with lectures and demonstrations. They provide a welcome change from the crowded lecture-hall and laboratories into the open air. They also are an inducement to many to try their utmost to build the ‘body beautiful’. A healthy mind can only exist in a healthy body. College sports create a spirit of competition in the field of physical culture and thus promote sound health.
Our annual sports are held a little before or after the Eid ul-Fitr. The athletic committee, usually under the guidance or direction of some sports-loving teacher, starts making the preliminary arrangements a month before the actual date. First, the events have to be decided upon. They must be evenly balanced to give equal chance to all types of athletes. There must be trials of strength and of agility of speed and of the presence of mind, for the healthy body as well as for the active mind. The different kinds of races: the various kinds of jumps, events that provide fun and frolic, – all must be on the card. After these have been decided on, centuries from students have to be invited. And finally, the ground must be prepared and marked out, and the preliminary heats have to be completed.
On the day of our annual sports, what a crowd of students assembles on the ground! The heats having already been gone through the finalists on the last day are the picked athletes of the college. Indeed the look like it. Healthy, smart, with plenty of vim and eagerness, they are excellent specimens of physical fitness. When the events begin, the names are called out, and the competitors line up. As each group starts off with the blast on a whistle or crack of a gun, roars of applause rent the air.
Naturally, each competition has his supporters among his classmates, and they are vociferous in shouting their support and encouragement. The winners receive a splendid ovation, which perhaps they like even more than the prized that await them. Some events are more popular than the other. The tug-of-war is a never-ending source of merriment, especially if one side has the advantage of weight. The pole vault is extremely picturesque. Various ingenious devices render such races as the obstacle race or the musical chair contest highly entertaining. Last come the teacher’s events. When this takes place, the excitement among students rises to very great heights. What laughter and applause greet the efforts of these sedate representatives of scholarship and wisdom as they come down to the plane of their pupils!
It the competitors are tense and serious, the on-looks derive great excitement from the efforts of each one to outshine the others. The teachers and guardians who sit around the president, often under a picturesque shamiana share the completed, the winners are called up and are presented one by one to the president of sometimes to someone who has been invited, to make over the prizes. They receive their prizes has been invited, to make over the prizes. They receive their prizes with delight. The day ends with a speech from the president whine is always loudly cheered, And so one of the most enjoyable days in our academic life draws to a close. These who get prizes are happy indeed, and those who do not register determination to undergo further practices for next year’s sports.
This is the general picture. But every college has its special variations of the programme. There are difficulties in the way of organizing these sports which bespeak the defects of our academic life. Few colleges have playgrounds where students can practice daily and improve their capacities. There are physical instructors, but for want of playgrounds, their imitative and usefulness are limited. Hence our sportsmen are athletes by mature, not by proper training. This is one reason why in the Olympics and other international events our athletes make a poor show.
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