ST Forum, Mar 16, 2011
It’s about love of sport, not winning
IN HIS letter, Mr Yee Jenn Jong bemoaned the fact that many schools tend to drop sports that their pupils do not excel in (“School sport is about winning, not passion”; March 8) . He further suggested that schools should take on “giants” like the Singapore Sports School (SSP) to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit.
The SSP athletes have a distinct and unfair advantage when it comes to national competitions. Aside from the fact that they are a select group, the creme de la creme from primary schools, the environment in SSP is almost ideal for producing champions – top-notch coaches, fine facilities, supportive teachers, tutors, sports psychologists, counsellors, trainers and what have you.
The talented athletes there live sports day in and day out, unlike their counterparts in other secondary schools where developing champions is not a high priority.
While it is true that we must encourage our athletes to be positive and not adopt a defeatist attitude, the conditions must be conducive and reasonably challenging. The presence of SSP in inter-school competition detracts from this and could well have a detrimental effect on the self-esteem of the athletes from other schools.
It is enough for school sports programmes to inculcate in the young a love for the outdoors and physical activity, to develop sports skills and motivation to pursue an active life. That should be their main focus.
Competition and winning are important aspects of sport participation but they should not be the raison d’etre of teaching sports.
Lee Seck Kay
ST FORUM, Mar 16, 2011
Losing can be as important as winning
SPORTS administrators and management must understand that past glory does not guarantee future success (“Sports School bugbear”, March 4; “School sports is about winning, not passion” by Mr Yee Jenn Jong, March 8).
Every batch is different, just as every student is different. Schools should focus on investing in future potential, not past records. Building a track record takes time.
Basketball superstar Michael Jordan once remarked: “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Under the current system, if Jordan were born in Singapore, he would not have been allowed to fail so many times and might not become the legend he is today.
I think the selection policies behind many sports are flawed and should be reviewed. Students require time and experience to grow and develop in the sports they like. They need to be recognised for their efforts and improvements, more than their chances of winning on their first try.
Do sports administrators understand that losing can be as important as winning?
Tay Xiong Sheng