Dismayed over India's obsession with only results, former cricket captain Rahul Dravid has advocated concrete steps to create a culture of sports and fitness.
"We are obsessed with results and satisfied with mediocre ones. For top performers results are merely consequences of processes, incidental to their quests for self-perfection," the batting legend said.
"The best way to produce results in sport is to take the focus away from results. In sport results are almost never solely in one's own hands while process of preparation and performance certainly are," the third highest run-getter in Test cricket added at a function last night. India, with about 30 per cent of world's population, can only boast of a few anecdotal achievements across sporting disciplines in over six decades since independence while small countries with barely a stadium in sight are producing champion sprinters, marathoners and swimmers, said the 39-year-old Dravid.
Stating that sport involves high risk and often very little reward, Dravid said many consider education as the safe choice and the smart long-term investment that is never going to change. "Today, it still takes a very brave parents to permit, let alone encourage, a talented child to carry on playing sport once high school is done."
Citing the example of American college sports system, Dravid said worldclass training and educational facilities are provided side by side while in South African cricket schools Test players are churned out with top-class degrees.
"If we truly do care about sport, like we claim we do, as a nation ready to take its place in the league of developed nations, we must make it possible for our best young talents to pursue their sports as well as world class education at the same time," he said.
"We must buffer the risks of careers in sport and collect and concentrate all the indigenous and international knowledge necessary to create world-class sportsmen and sportswomen," he added.
According to him, educational institutions are among the best locales to incubate talent, whether the mental sort or the physical. He added that they are often far more adept at dealing with issues occupying the consciousness of young boys and girls than any sports federation could possibly be.
"Better-educated young athletes also make brighter, more responsible and thoughtful athletes," he said. On organisation of major sporting events, Dravid said the sports administrators should invest their entire efforts on only two relevant stakeholders - the sports talent and the sports fans because without one the other is more or less redundant.
"In my view, the sacred role of sports federations is to find the right talent, give it the best possible platforms to learn, grow and perform and then ultimately to connect the talent with the sports fan in an accessible and identifiable way," Dravid said.
Many former sport personalities are giving back to the sport through philanthropy, business, administration and coaching while a new set of professional young sports managers are contributing effectively to the evolving sports environment.
On criticism, Dravid said being able to accept criticism in right spirit encourages introspection and leads to improvement. He said he has often viewed it as an unexpected gift, sometimes packaged nicely, other times not.
"Often, but of course not always, it comes from people who truly care about my wellbeing and growth", he said. Stating that humility, grace and integrity should never be perceived as weaknesses, Dravid said they are enduring, valuable and timeless qualities.
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