The Way The Cookie Crumbles

As I chanced upon the picture of this extremely tall dude, reported to be a student of the Swedru Business School (SWESBU), the gaping holes in our rate of production of sports starseducational system became more pronounced.

Reported by the reigning Ghana Journalists Association (G.J.A) Sports Journalist of the year, Saddick Adams to be 16 years of age and in form one, the SWESBU student stands heads over heels above everyone.

Over the years, the effects of sports on a country’s economy has proven to be extremely enormous and with sports comes competition. In effect, any nation which desires excellence in sports must deem it necessary to invest heavily in quality research and resources.

In Ghana, the situation is quite absurd. Sports is football and football is sports. The rest of the sporting disciplines though relevant, have been cast into oblivion basically because as a result of no fault of ours, during our developmental stages we are not introduced to a variety of sporting activities.

Very little or in most cases, no attention is given to physical education in our schools. In the basic school setting where it is prudent that students are introduced to a variety of sporting activities, such students irrespective of their body type and prefernces are made to sit glued to their text books, viewing life from a Maths-Science-English perspective.

However, the route to success cannot be restricted to one’s academic capacity. More so, who said that engaging in sports makes one “unintelligent”? From a scientific perspective, engaging in aerobic exercise for a leads to markedly relevant changes (adaptations) in our bodies.

Firstly, regular aerobic exercise boots the size of the hippocampus which is largely associated with memory and cognitive abilities (an adaptation of the body), according to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia. In terms of responses, more oxygen is sent to the brain during aerobic exercise and it leads to improved brain function since oxygen is vital for effective and efficient brain function.

Harvard health blog also asserts that parts of the brain such as the prefrontal and the medial temporal cortex which controls thinking are larger in people who engage in aerobic exercises (again, an adaptation of the body to exercise).

In effect, we must move beyond our football-based concept of sports. This sixteen year-old boy would have been trained to become a basketball player should he have been in Europe.

What most of us do not know is that intelligence is extremely dependent on interest. It explains why a person can be terrifically excellent in a specific subject/field but in another field, the same person can become extremely poor.

With training, it will become very easy for this form one SWESBU student to become very proficient in the game of basketball but let us ask ourselves: Do we have the resources in Ghana to take advantage of his unique biological make-up?

According to Saddick Adams, a basketball coach in Serbia University has expressed interest in securing a scholarship for the SWESBU student. It is a welcoming news but have we thought of the future implications?

If our schooling system is unable to provide the necessary room for sports development/ deems sports as surplus to our educational requirements, then it only means that in some years to come, all our budding talents will be snapped up to Europe or other developed countries at a very young age.

The rippling effect is that they could naturalize/ change citizenship…….what then will become the hope of mother Ghana in terms of sports?