Of Awards, Missions and ‘My People’

Jess Owens oncesaid, “Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.”
And Owens wasarguably one of the most influential athletes of all time, winning 4 gold inBerlin Olympics in 1936, when Hitler staged the game to showcase the Aryansupremacy.
Despite what Owenssaid, awards do, and would continue to, mean a lot to the athletes. These arethe reasons why they play for, when the game they play is not enough to buythem sustenance. Probably that’s why Pulsar Sports Awards gets a lot ofpublicity. So much that players go ahead players or their fans go ahead gettingpamphlets printed and paste it around the walls. So much, fan groups rallyaround requesting for SMS votes. The national football team went to the easternregion, to play friendly matches against Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa – with thepermission from ANFA – to gather support for its captain, who happens to be oneof the nominees for Popular Player of the Year.
At the risk ofirritating a lot of sports journos, yours truly would also like to argue thatthe awards have become popular also because it is organized by Nepal SportsJournalist Forum. Most sports journos are affiliated with the forum, and thenews gets month long (or more coverage in popular newsprint), making it widelyread, and thus popular. One question could be asked here: Would it get as muchcoverage, if some other organization covered it?
If the answer isyes, there is nothing wrong with it. But if the answer is no, rethinking is needed. Are we overdoing it?
Despite thiscriticism, it has to be reaffirmed that the award has done more good than badto the morale of the players, and should be lauded along with the players whoreceive the trophies.
As far as Nepalisports sector is concerned Yuvaraj Lama is the man to watch (and it is beingsaid after a lot of deliberation). The Member Secretary of the National SportsCouncil, since his appointment, has rarely missed the headlines for more than aweek.
And now he’s backto it again, announcing Mission SAG 2012. Commendable, if you notice this is2011 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 trainingprogramme, with each phase having quarter of a year implementation schedule. Probablythis is the first time, science has taken precedence over guess work. Probablythis is the first time, determination, psychology and suitability to thesport, is to be recorded. These were the words alien to sports practice.
Histrionics is Lama’sforte, and many who have watched him in filmdom will vouch for it. He loves abig stage, and makes the best use of it. This is evident from his goal of 40gold medals for Nepal, in next year’s SAG. Quite a climb, you would think, ifyou remember we bagged 8 in the last edition in Dhaka, last year.
Daydream? Notexactly… But, maybe ambitious, if not unattainable… The Member Secretary willhave to get his entire team – which includes of groups and subgroups withdifferent interests, occupying spots the NSC – on one point agenda, if we wereto reach close to his goal.
We have notforgotten the promises he made when appointed to the post. Of transparency,good governance and keeping slate clean as far as political appointments areconcerned. He has failed once already, by appointing ‘his men’ at NSC, givingin to political temptation of doling out jobs to party cadres. This isinteresting, if we take into account some of the employees at the organizationwere 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, sodoes one’s good deeds… The Member Secretary may well decide what lives after hesays 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

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