Jess Owens once said, “Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.”
And Owens was arguably one of the most influential athletes of all time, winning 4 gold in Berlin Olympics in 1936, when Hitler staged the game to showcase the Aryan supremacy.
Despite what Owens said, awards do, and would continue to, mean a lot to the athletes. These are the reasons why they play for, when the game they play is not enough to buy them sustenance. Probably that’s why Pulsar Sports Awards gets a lot of publicity. So much that players go ahead players or their fans go ahead getting pamphlets printed and paste it around the walls. So much, fan groups rally around requesting for SMS votes. The national football team went to the eastern region, to play friendly matches against Sunsari, Morgan and Jhapa – with the permission from ANFA – to gather support for its captain, who happens to be one of the nominees for Popular Player of the Year.
At the risk of irritating a lot of sports journos, yours truly would also like to argue that the awards have become popular also because it is organized by Nepal Sports Journalist Forum. Most sports journos are affiliated with the forum, and the news gets month long (or more coverage in popular newsprint), making it widely read, and thus popular. One question could be asked here: Would it get as much coverage, if some other organization covered it?
If the answer is yes, there is nothing wrong with it. But if the answer is no, rethinking is needed. Are we overdoing it?
Despite this criticism, it has to be reaffirmed that the award has done more good than bad to the morale of the players, and should be lauded along with the players who receive the trophies.
As far as Nepali sports sector is concerned Yuvaraj Lama is the man to watch (and it is being said after a lot of deliberation). The Member Secretary of the National Sports Council, since his appointment, has rarely missed the headlines for more than a week.
And now he’s back to it again, announcing Mission SAG 2012. Commendable, if you notice this is 2011 and never did we announce preparation for South Asian Games, this early. Probably this is the first time, NSC has a plan, with a four-phase training programme, with each phase having quarter of a year implementation schedule. Probably this is the first time, science has taken precedence over guess work. Probably this is the first time, determination, psychology and suitability to the sport, is to be recorded. These were the words alien to sports practice.
Histrionics is Lama’s forte, and many who have watched him in filmdom will vouch for it. He loves a big stage, and makes the best use of it. This is evident from his goal of 40 gold medals for Nepal, in next year’s SAG. Quite a climb, you would think, if you remember we bagged 8 in the last edition in Dhaka, last year.
Daydream? Not exactly… But, maybe ambitious, if not unattainable… The Member Secretary will have to get his entire team – which includes of groups and subgroups with different interests, occupying spots the NSC – on one point agenda, if we were to reach close to his goal.
We have not forgotten the promises he made when appointed to the post. Of transparency, good governance and keeping slate clean as far as political appointments are concerned. He has failed once already, by appointing ‘his men’ at NSC, giving in to political temptation of doling out jobs to party cadres. This is interesting, if we take into account some of the employees at the organization were removed, as too many people were considered ‘unnecessary’. No competition… No openness… No transparency…
Shakespeare, in Julius Caesar wrote, “The evil that men do lives after them”… We believe, so does one’s good deeds… The Member Secretary may well decide what lives after he says goodbye to his position.
(PS: The write-up appeared in Yours Truly’s weekly sports column – OFFSIDE – in The Kathmandu Post, on 10th September, 2011)
Disclaimer: The picture shown in the post is courtesy: www.ekantipur.com