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Should You As Parent Encourage Your Child To Play Dangerous Sports?
Should you encourage your child to play dangerous sports to become a professional athlete and earn money? De la chanson or it depends on the child, parents, talent, intention and opportunity. If you ask this parent of four, the answer is a resounding no. I will explain more about my logic later. For starters, be warned: sports, like any business, have an exploitative underbelly that few people see or want to see. It is wise to be proactive because advice given after an injury is equivalent to medicine after death.
There are functional skills you can gain from playing different sports: teamwork, perseverance, determination, winning, and hard-working habits. Also, playing sports can be beneficial to a person’s overall health.
Obesity is a worldwide health problem with well-known consequences. Some of these consequences include high blood pressure, type II diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, joint disease, various cancers, to name a few. But don’t tell that to many Nigerians (Africans in particular and in general) that being fat is a noble thing, a status symbol, proof of the good life and wealth. Engaging in physical activity throughout your life is a worthwhile habit that contributes to both the quantity and quality of life, according to health experts.
However, there is a big difference between playing sports and playing professionally. No sport is without risk, but some are more dangerous than others. The cost of joining a professional sports club can be quite high; To be honest, it might not be worth it.
In my 20s, I loved watching boxing. Sugar Ray and Thomas “Hitman” Hearns War II comes to mind. Marvin Hagler, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Mike Tyson, the second coming of George Foreman were my favorites. I watched those fights every chance I got. At a 1987 Pay-View event in Oakland, California, I happened to sit next to a former boxer. When we left the venue after the exciting fight, he made a statement that stuck in my mind when the audience was displeased with the millions of fighters they had won. “These fighters will pay dearly for the rest of their lives for the blows they took today,” he said. He went on to say, “All the millions they make today will not be enough to heal a lifetime of pain and suffering.”
In retrospect, his words were very prescient, as little was known at the time about the effects of concussions, blows to the head, performance-enhancing drugs, Parkinson’s disease, memory loss, and speech problems. Some of the sports we send our children to play today are just as dangerous, don’t let the hype, money, fame and medical advances fool us. Remember the beef was from the cow or as the Igbos say, “Suya ahu si nahu nama”!
Seeing the huge money and fame in these sports, it was only a matter of time before Nigerian parents and/or our children themselves started following these sports. Some may reap the obvious benefits without seeing the hidden pitfalls. These parents and children should heed this Einstein quote: “Learn the rules of the game [first]. And then you have to play it better [on and off the court] than anyone else.”
I must dedicate a paragraph to pay tribute to the sporting heroes of Nigeria and indeed the world. Dick Tiger, Christian Okoye, Hakeem Olajuwon and current professional players have set shining examples on and off the stage. They remain the beacon of everything great about Nigeria and Nigerians. When was the last time you heard anything negative about these characters? By their actions, they weaken the reputation of our Motherland, even while politicians and 419 corrupt people are trying to lower the global reputation of our Motherland. Like grateful Nigerians everywhere, I salute these evergreen heroes.
Are these reasons enough to allow your child to play dangerous sports?
I hope Nigerian parents both at home and abroad do not force their children into these sports to earn money. Most of the time, we are the people who are all about making money. Some may dispel the myth there and end up exposing themselves and their children to hidden dangers. According to one sports writer, “people are suspicious of Nigerian players; they are soft, not tough enough and too educated”. That’s a loaded statement! Trying to “prove a negative” can be costly for one. You may remember Loyola Marymount basketball star Eric “Hank” Gathers, who died on the court in 1990 during a televised game. They were known to be a young man at heart, but he continued to play without taking his medication, which made him too drowsy to perform to the caliber of his star.
All sports have inherent risks. As the Italians say, “ogni rosa ha le sue spine” or “every rose has a thorn”. I like cycling. Many cyclists are injured and even killed while cycling. Just 3 weeks ago here in Austin Texas a bicyclist pushing his handicapped bike was killed by a reckless driver less than 10 miles from my apartment. Did you know that female soccer players are the second most concussed after American football players? Go figure it out.
However, some sports are like cigarettes: they are dangerous when played according to the rules. Some injuries are picked up from a very young age (elementary and middle school) and the negative effects are not fully felt until after the playing days are over.
The chances of getting it are very low. As a friend who used to do this sport told me, “People only see a few people who have successfully jumped to the other side of the ridge. But look down at the bottom of the abyss and you will see many people do it. have not arrived.” The few who do make it to the pros live a painful life after their injuries begin to show and when their insurance benefits no longer exist. They quickly waste their income due to poor financial management skills. Like many Nigerians who refuse to plan for retirement, these athletes think they will always have money. Those who help you spend your resources will not be there when you need them. Awakening, if it can only bury a person after he dies, it does not keep him alive.
I am not advocating that you or your children give up on amateur or professional sports. I don’t single out any sports either. As I said, every rose has a thorn; no sport is without risk. What I recommend is that you do your research before getting your family involved in any sport. If after all this, you still feel that sports is for your child and that he has a chance to win a million, go for it. I wish health to your family. Please note that all glitter may be copper and not gold.
Ask yourself these questions:
Why do so few pro players follow in their parents’ footsteps? Did the genes that brought their parents to stardom suddenly “lose their way”?
Why don’t team owners, coaches, team doctors use their enormous influence to get their kids to play these apparently lucrative sports? Other businesses, including preachers, train their children in the family business, why not as dangerous sports players? Could it be because they are true or, in the words of Ben Franklin, society writes the wounds in the dust and the gains in the marble?
Is sports the only way to get a university scholarship? Academic scholarships are better than most athletic scholarships. Alumni graduate more students than others. Reading will not give you the injuries mentioned above.
If you don’t know any former professional players in a sport that your child might be interested in, do a Google or Facebook search to talk to them. They are relatively easy to find and you will find them willing to help you. Listen to what they tell you with an open heart; Don’t take their feedback as bitter comments from former players. This is what I used to do years ago before my kids were old enough to play the popular American sport. As a proactive step, I discouraged my sons from playing soccer. I was surprised when my high school student told me that he had been asked to try out for his school team.
My wife and our children were happy about this news at first. I went into high gear to talk him out of football. When he refused, I blessed him, but told him that I would not go to any of the games. They said he was good at it. He convinced his mother to go to one of the games. I have to give an injection here, she is in the medical field. After watching the game live and hearing the sounds of the war… I mean, the shots on the field that day, she came home to join me in trying to get our son out of the sport. The sound of the hits was unlike anything he heard from football games on TV. My response was that if he thought high school players hit hard, he could imagine how much harder high school and college players hit, not to mention professional players. I couldn’t stand my kid watching football, I can’t. Call me chicken!
After that first year of soccer, our son announced, to our delight, that he was quitting sports. I asked why, and he said that none of his team members were in his Advancement classes, in fact, most of them were not doing well in school, partly because of classes due to injuries and/or sports distractions. Such a situation can be seen in Africa and other places. Some excel in both sports and science.
Thankfully, my son was not injured and his grades have remained high. He talked about other football players’ serious injuries, how they were encouraged to eat and lift weights to get bigger, stronger, and kick harder and run faster. He talked about using underground equipment and the push to play for college scholarships and future prospects. Academics were not the priority, internships and winning games were! Finally, he said he understood that we wanted what was best for him both now and in the long run. He understood that we did it with and for love. And we can live with it!
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