Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sports, an equal opportunity employer

One of the reasons I love sports is because it gives people from relatively unprivileged backgrounds a chance to make it big in life. This is particularly true of games such as football and basketball, and closer home, cricket.

Let's start with football. Some of the greatest players world football produces come from deprived families. The one thing they have in common is tremendous talent & a burning desire to prove themselves. It is a well-known fact that most players from Brazil and Argentina belong to extremely poor families and have learned & honed their football playing skills on the streets. Despite flailing economies these countries produce some of the best football players in the world.

Same is the case with basketball in America. Most basketball players tend to be African-Americans who've grown up in American ghettos. Every ghetto has a basketball court and whenever you drive by one, you will see kids dribbling basketballs. A number of those kids go on to attend high school & subsequently, college on sports scholarships. The good ones go on to play for their college teams in the NCAA, and the best amongst those make it to the NBA! These kids from welfare families view basketball as an opportunity to escape the challenges of everyday existence & convert it into a means of doing well financially.

In countries such as India & Pakistan, cricket too is replete with players belonging to humble backgrounds who have come up on the basis of merit alone.

In sports, merit takes precedence over lineage or pedigree. You are as successful as your game is good, and for this reason sports continues to be one of those great things in the world we should all be thankful for.

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