Saturday, January 12, 2013

FOR NIGERIA TO WIN MEDALS...the do it ourselves approach BY ENA OFUGARA

.Ok, the Nigerian government and system aren't doing enough. But when has that stopped us? When has it stopped us from getting a generator when NEPA power fails, or digging our own borehole in place of "water board"? So why cannot we win in spite of the government and their misfiring?

I daresay even in sports, we take matters in our own hands...what am I even saying??? Even in the US, parents take matters in their own hands and so should we. It is time for our children to win and become great in sports, not despite us but because of us as parents.

How many times have we heard athletes say "my father used to beat me when I go and play football but I continued. Look at me today" The funny part of these type of athlete stories is that it is the same parents who stopped their children from doing the very sport that made them rich and famous that go out in the jeeps bought them by these children and start describing themselves as "papa Wilson Oruma"etc.

Indeed many a dream have been cut short and talent wasted by parents who failed to see the big picture. The sad one of a parent who burnt the feet of his son that played for KB Stars or was it Pedro back then in Sapele is fresh in the memory. We understand the would be defender is today a drunk and still lives at home with his aged father who weeps daily saying he ruined his son's life.

Yes indeed, talent wasted is a sad thing but one unhoned and undeveloped is as sad. I believe children are given to us as parents to be their guides and teachers. To be the one to polish the diamonds or gold or silver or some other precious thing which they are. The potential is there in each child and if we are but committed, we would be able to see it and develop it.

I was reading the article on Mikel Obi, the 75,000 pounds a week earning footballer for Chelsea fc and how he would rush to wash plates in his mother's Pepper Soup restaurant so he can go and play football and I compare that to a Messi who from ten years was already signed by his parents over to a football club in Argentina who signed him a yr later over to Barcelona, and I realized the big gulf in their training and development. While Mikel had to fight for himself, Messi's parents already laid down a plan to succeed for their son. Now Argentina is 3rd world much like Nigeria. You may ask why Nigerian parents do not support their children to be good athletes and sportmen and women? It is because of our "clerical culture". We all want our children to have "White Collar Jobs". Little emphasis is placed on other things like teaching the child how to do business (except Ibos as per business training) or be anything else but finish school and start applying for jobs. Well NEWSFLASH: NOT MUCH JOBS.

Indeed aside medical doctors and maybe lawyers, the labour market is inundated with people who sadly developed precious else by way of skill Thus does it not make sense to allow the child to develop all-round? Shaquille Oneal, the Basketball Hall-of-Famer just had his masters. Sam Okwaraji studied law. Indeed 90 percent of the athletes that represent the US are in school and must maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) to qualify to represent their school and which is where they are usually picked to represent the US

Thus as parents what do we do? First we realize the role of education and ensure the child stays in school. School and sports and indeed music and acting and dancing can work side by side. It is why you are needed to direct the kids and help them apportion their time.

Secondly u must watch the child and see what talents God gave him. I know to all parents, their kids are "miss world" but I am talking watching for genuine talent and what the kid likes doing.

Thirdly, it matters not that you do not know the sport. Like Williams (serena and Venus father) you can read it up or like Douglas mother, get a the child in facilities that can hone them

Furthermore, realize this could just be your "retirement benefit".  Basketball moms like that of Lebron james, Kevin Durant etc are living large off their children. Usher Raymond's mother and Beyonce's father continue to make money off their children as managers.

This is a whole new line of work then. It is not an easy road ask Gabby Douglas mother and Beyonce's father. They both went into debt just to see their kids talent reach its fullness. here in Nigeria, despite little encouragement from parents, Mikel, Okocha, Oruma, Yobo etc etc etc are financial pillars of their families. Mikel paid the millions for the ransom for his father and Yobo paid the ransom for his brother.

In conclusion therefore I recap what I have said earlier. 1. Your kid can do well in school and sports 2. You must discover then harness the talent. (If he or she has one) 3. Doing this may be the best financial decision of your life, ask Mikel Obi's mother. Her son makes 18 million eight hundred and ninety thousand naira legally a week. (18,900000) and 75 million 6 hundred thousand naira a month and "error" "error" "error" if you try to calculate what he makes per year. And this is because he was able to develop his talent and his mother and father let him.