Commerce first, sports last!

 Well, he should know. Playing for the Indiranagar Basketball Club in Bangalore, Shiva knows the problems youngsters face in finding a place to just play.

He says, “There are plenty of localities where there are simply no grounds at all. People in several areas have no place to recharge by playing a game.”

Shiva complains that the only way anyone can even get access to some playing area is by joining clubs or by playing at a competitive level. “If someone is looking for a playground for recreational purpose, there is simply no chance, “ he says.

Coaching kids during summer camps, he knows parents who travel a really long way to bring their kids to learn the game. Parents and children, he says, are being increasingly forced to travel long distances, just so that the children can learn a sport.

“ I have a parent, who gets her two children all the way from Fraser Town to Indiranagar everyday, but she is keen that they learn the sport. She tells me that there are absolutely no playgrounds in Fraser Town for children,” explains Shiva.

That feeling is increasing among the parents. Chandra Rekha, in her childhood and youth, was an avid player of many sports. Never the one to stay at home, she recalls many games that she learnt in her neighbourhood playground. “Now I have two kids and absolutely no playground for a 4 km radius. I strongly believe that sports is very essential for good personality development, but here I cannot afford to take them the long distance and get them back.”

She hates the fact that her children have to spend time at home playing. “My children will never know what it is like to just get out there and play,” she rues.
Coupled with all this, sportspersons feel cheated at the commercialisation of the few available playgrounds, whether it is for a political rally or a mela. In fact, big grounds are more used for such purposes than staging a sports tournament.

Even state established places like Kanteerva stadium are not spared. Almost all of us are sure to have visited Kanteerva indoor stadium for some expo or show. Only someone who plays a sport can know the nightmare of having the surface damaged by such activities. The only escape is for children to enrol into sports clubs to pursue a game for competitive purposes. That is not however everyone’s cup of tea.

Footballer, Xavier Vijaykumar feels it has become imperative to establish stadiums on the outskirts and begin academies, due to lack of space within the city. “It is the only way we can encourage children to play,” he says.

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