11 September 2010

Where's the dedication?

A few weeks back I called a promising youth footballer who has been training daily at a local academy since the age of twelve to see how he fared in the ANFA-HISSAN Program trials for the top SLC passed youth soccer players in the country. I was disappointed to learn that he had not tried-out for it as he never got news of the trials (Did he not read the newspapers? Every single one had an article about the ANFA-HISSAN Program).

Because I was a admirer of the player, I told him that I could speak with a few ANFA coaches and have them look at him privately to see if he was up to the mark. The kid however told me that he was a bit busy these days with "other commitments" and that he'll try-out some other time. What?! The kid's goal since the day I met him was to become a professional footballer, but with opportunity sitting right before him he was not even bothered to grab it.

This had me thinking - does Nepali sport lack dedication? Let's not confuse dedication and sacrifice. Yes, almost all Nepali sportsmen make great sacrifices - be it sacrificing time, money, education and family to pursue their passion in a sector where there is little reward and tons of struggle. But after that sacrifice, do they have the dedication to reach the top? To do whatever it takes to be the best they can at their sport.

By dedication I don't mean just working hard, but going over and beyond what others are doing. Practicing 1,000 hours to improve your sprinting speed by 1,000th of a second.
  • A player waking up everyday at 5 in the morning and shooting 500 jump shots with his weaker hand to improve his overall game
  • A coach reading Arsene Wenger's (coach of Arsenal FC) biography to just get one extra  insight into top class coaching
  • An official spending hours on sports websites to find that cutting edge idea to develop his sport
I have met countless Nepali sports persons - be it players, coaches and officials, and sometimes I really wonder where the dedication is. Players who don't even know their biceps from their triceps. Senior coaches who have not picked-up a coaching manual in 10 years. Officials who don't even have an email account or know how to use a computer.

Maybe it's not so much the lack of money, facilities, and  foreign training that is hindering Nepali sports, but a lack of dedication.