I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”- Muhammad Ali

As rightly said by the champion himself, sports can offer more than a pipe dream. Through sports people can gain confidence and a voice. It helps them to realise or even exceed their expectations to what they previously thought would be the limit of their potential.

Sports is one of the instances in life where an individual will encounter failures which in turn will give them an ability to make a choice on how to deal with that and turn that failure into a positive outcome. Turning these failures into an outcome worth remembering and positive becomes even more crucial.

Sports even act as a means to contribute to human development and in particular to empower and educate young people to tackle the problems they face and build social skills. In all parts of the world you will find the Messi’s, the Ronaldo’s, the Djokovic’s who tirelessly practise their skills, day in and day out.

All the children have a dream to play professionally like the legend Messi himself who was born to humble means and rose to fame. While we have inspiring stories of Messi, Ronaldo, Djokovic, Aldo and many others, it does prove that sports do have the power to change lives.

Sports are a ticket out of poverty. Mere participation in sports can be a powerful tool for economic and social mobility. It can lead to a positive career and social development. Sports can even be used for a social change. Sports can be a means to be healthier and happier. Sports can bring individuals and communities together. It can be used as a means to develop important social skills. Playing sports is even linked to reduced rates of obesity, high blood pressure and makes a person less lethargic and physically active.

Despite the negativity from people, one should continue to strive and show passion and commitment to the sport they love and hold on to it. Sports can and does change people’s lives.

– by Gabel Mascarenhas
Gabel is currently working at El Shaddai as Child Protection Co-Ordinator