By Helen R Khan
In 1962, the Ministry of Education created the Pakistan Sports Board. This fact is ironic in the face that few Pakistani stars are educated. Their lack of education is part of the reason children are failing at school. These ‘heroes’ do not promote education by their own lack of it.
Sport’s heroes are role models. Young aspiring athletes look to these ‘heroes’ and idolize everything about them, including their lack of education. Young boys; especially, look at the stars’ wealth and prestige and believe that they accomplished all of this without a good education. For example, the cricketers today, between the whole lot of them, only hold 2 degrees; Mishbhaul Haq has an MBA and Faward Aalam has a Bachelor’s of Commerce. All other players have no more than Intermediate. A Category A player will make 312,000 Rupees per month. Now that is a nice wage for a non-degree holder!
Many a young boy in Pakistan aspires for the big leagues; they dream of someday joining the ranks of their favourite cricket hero. They spend hours at the game while neglecting their studies. They look to the wealth and prestige of these players, knowing that most have only an elementary level of education, and believe that they don’t need get good grades. They think they don’t have to work hard and get good marks at school. After all, these sports athletes have made it big; they have money, they have girls, they have prestige. And they did it all without an education. So who needs an education? What does it matter if young boys fail their classes? These young men think they can have the same future as their favourite hero without an education.
This kind of thinking is very short-sighted and flawed. There are several good reasons why everyone, even the most talented young person should earn a college or university degree.
1) Only 1% makes it to the Top of the Sports World
That means that if there are 1000 athletes striving for the pros, only 10 might make it; that means that you will most likely be in the 990 who will not become a sports star and must look elsewhere for a career. If you are one of the 990, then you need a college or university education to make a good future for yourself.
Injuries happen. Even if you make it to the professional leagues, you can easily fall and injure yourself early or
late in your sports career. An injury can be a life changing event that prevents you from going back on the field. You may never play again so what will you do? Having a good education means you have something you can use instead of your sports ability. It is your safety net for an illustrious career outside of sports. An injury can end your cricket career but it cannot stop your career as a (e.g.:) business administrator.
How Education Can Help Your Game
1) Improving your technique and skill comes from practice. That means you need a disciplined life and habits. If you can discipline your mind to study; then you have what it takes to have discipline in the sport you love and practice it to your fullest and beyond.
2) A good athlete must be a student of the strategies of the game. A well-disciplined graduate has acquired the necessary thinking skills necessary to transfer these same skills to the game and come out a winner for himself and his team.
3) Ability to cope with the tactical complexities of the sport. Poor performance on the playing field has been equated with a lack of education that prevents the athlete from being able to cope and understand the complexities of the modern game. Jan Molby, a footballer and quad-linguist believes that British footballers do not spend enough time in the classroom and that is one good reason why England is not doing well on the playing field.
So if you really are into sports, continue on playing the game; give the very best you have towards your sport, but don’t forget your education. Become disciplined; start a good study program, get plenty of rest, get those good grades, decide now to enter university.
If you are among that 1% that does make it to the big leagues and you also have a degree; then so much the better. The horizons are open to you, the sky is the limit even after retirement, and you are prepared to start a second career.