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Students playing basketball at the school court.It is true that without play Jack is a dull boy. The human body is naturally prone to being lazy and dull unless activated. The fast multiplication of body cells in a young person’s body results in fast growth which leads to excessive body weight unless this condition is checked or controlled. An overweight body is naturally not healthy and it is prone to attacks by various opportunistic diseases. Besides, this type of body weight does not adequately support active and sharp brain work. Just as it leads to uncoordinated body tissue balance, it also slows activity in the brain resulting in low thinking capacity and ability to make quick effective and critical decisions.

With this understanding, it therefore goes without question that, the concept of balancing sports and games with academic activities is paramount. An inbalance of the same automatically results in low academic performance, especially among the youth, who happen to form the largest populance in our learning institutions. Research show that, learning institutions specifically schools which concentrate on one at the expense of the other, are either struggling to perfect their results or have ended up producing half baked products who find it difficult to cope in a society, when faced with reality in life. Other institutions have ended up with too many indiscipline cases, which come about as a result of the youth in custody wanting to release ‘steams’ and tensions, occasioning from lack of practice and exercise after a heavy learning day’s work in class.

Many strikes ever recorded in learning institutions have some aspect inadequate opportunities to learners to express themselves to be heard, but a big percentage is about seeking an opportunity to release ‘steam’ that accumulates after vigorous academic programmes.

Apart from the aforesaid reasons, games and sports in the present society, specifically in Kenya, are fast becoming a source of good income and money-generating ventures. People at both local and international levels of participation are making billions out of sporting activities. Others are earning reputable international titles as they set new records. An overview of this simply leads us to conclude that, sports and games activities are fast becoming a profession, that is if the are not so already.

Various companies and employers of late are putting emphasis on having employees who are physically fit to deliver in work performance. This is because a physically fit worker has an active brain which is enterprising and creative.

Elsewhere people with a sporting talent are being hired or given citizenship and wealth. The sole idea by these well paying countries is to tap their talents to bring them international glory and honor. This is on the understanding that, there is no bigger resource in a society than human resources.

On this basis therefore, it is terrible, grave mistake and injustice to the society if a learning institution fails to provide and facilitate opportunities for the learners to take advantage of the many benefits available in the games and sporting world. Many talents are discovered and exploited in the youthful stages. Hence youth must be given the chance to blossom and perfect themselves in games and sports.

For those who believe in the Bible, Genesis 1:2 “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made” (KJV). It says here that the seventh day after vigorous creation of the world God took time off, this was presumably his sporting day.

The harmonizing of academics and sporting activities in a learning institution therefore is the fundamental secret to overall academic excellence. It revolves around four well co-ordinated wheels.

  • Institutional management
  • A teacher
  • A learner
  • A parent

Institutional management

The success of intertwining games and sports with academics will fall or stand by the head of a learning institution. It is the sole responsibility of the head to provide a conducive atmosphere for sporting and academic excellence. This is done by providing required facilities, equipments and personnel.

The head must also have a definite and workable school policy on how sports and games should be successfully sandwiched with academic programmes. The personnel working with him/her must internalize and effectively implement the policy, consistently involving all the stakeholders. The office of the head should vigorously support and must be seen supporting the implementation of the policy by putting the required implementary machinery in place. Deliberate efforts should be made to provide enough recreational facilities and qualified motivated personnel to man them.

The stand of having sports and games t build up academic excellence from the head should be clear and sound to everybody in the institution. Where finances allow professionals in relevant games and sporting disciplines should be engaged to help the learners.

A teacher

Teachers are part of the personnel required to make the policy on sports and games for academic excellence a success. Some teachers act as coaches and trainers and being teachers they know the fundamental requirements of a student in school, hence they are able to balance the two comfortably and professionally. However a voluntary work the concerned teachers need moral support from the head and other members of the institution.

A learner

A learner is the target of focus in all these programmes. This is the person who will benefit if the programmes succeed and loose if they fail. Therefore efforts should be made t make him/her understand the bottom line of all those programmes and have him/her involved fully and effectively.

Every learner in an institution must be involved in an activity to refresh and exercise her body. They should be allowed to creatively come up and sustain many more activities for variety, but strictly supervised by professionals or teachers.

A parent

Being the prime facilitator and beneficiary of the success of a child, a parent must help the learning institution to implement its programmes. He/she should encourage his/her child to participate in school programmes actively and at times provide sponsorship to some activities to the benefit of the child.

Learning is a life time process. Many new things are bound to come. But it is an unchangeable fact that learning without games and sporting activities is a boring and tiring journey to undertake. There is therefore an immense need to effectively balance the two for excellent results. This has been, is and will be top most secret in Moi GirlsÂ’ High School-Eldoret, whose motto speaks it all. Honour, courage and industry-with a games and sporting menu of:

  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Hockey
  • Badminton
  • Athletics
  • Netball
  • Swimming
  •  Bicycle riding
  •  Lawn Tennis
  • Table Tennis
  • Handball
  • Tug of war
  • Football

Mrs Veronicah Mochama
Senior HOD Co-Curricular Activities and Volleyball Coach
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