Why You Need to Get Sporty

Mt Kenya’s Norman Werunga (Left) and Western Stima’s Kennedy Otieno (Right) tussle in a recent match
Image Credits: OLIVER MORGAN

Life is all about motion. The more moves we make, the more we are bound to be successful. The motion principle also applies to how active we are as humans. An active person enjoys life more than an inactive individual. To prove this, I would take the most recent example whereby the world witnessed a pandemic that forced us to be indoors. In that sedentary lifestyle, most of us gained weight, more so if we had the privilege of having access to a constant supply of food. In any case, at any point in time where you have been inactive away from sport, you often tend to feel sluggish and also operate average levels of enthusiasm. If you are to go back to high school where games were almost always compulsory, you would easily understand the impact that sport had on you. Essentially, you managed to go for games between 4 pm and 5.30 pm from Monday to Friday, took your supper, and proceeded for preps till around 9.30 pm or 10.30 pm depending on the school you attended. All this while, you studied 8 subjects and still managed to grasp a concept or two in time to write something during your exams. Fast-forward to campus where everything is defined by freedom, you tend to drop from an active game routine as you focus on studies, fun, and establishing how you are going to make it in life. While on campus, it is worth noting that it is still important to get sporty, especially in the current world whereby lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are becoming a pandemic.

It is all for the benefit of your health

Engaging in sports is beneficial to one’s health. Have you ever noticed that you tend to have a boosted mood after engaging in a slight moment of exercise? Well, I also pose this question to you – what if you could make it routine to incorporate exercise into your daily routine? Wouldn’t you be energized every day and motivated to face even the toughest of the days?

For a start, while on campus, you could begin engaging in 5-aside soccer. Just gather your friends and contribute towards purchasing a football. The cheapest football I have seen goes for Ksh. 1,100/- online via Jumia (Link attached in the references section).1 As a group, you could contribute equally from time to time till you manage to purchase the football and get started with your 5-aside tournaments. Since you are in campus, it would not be hard to find a space where you could be playing the game. Making the playtime consistent would enable you to get sporty in the longer term and be healthy in the long run.

A past KOT (Kenyans on Twitter) 5-aside match held at the Ligi Ndogo Grounds.
Image Credits: Capital FM Kenya.

Bangsbo et al (2015) researched the effects of playing 5-aside soccer on health and the results are encouraging. They found out that players wearing their soccer boots for just 2 times per week and spontaneously interacting with teammates and opponents for 40 to 60 minutes were able to improve their baseline maximal oxygen uptake by 8% to 18%.2 Additionally, the 5-aside players had a 10% increase in lower limb strength and a significant positive change in body composition.3 Moreover, players who spontaneously engaged in 5-aside soccer proved to positively affect social interactions and psychological well-being.4 There you go! What are you waiting for? Gather your colleagues and begin playing 5-aside.

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Networking

Still on the 5-aside mood, it would be easier to form new friends the moment you get started. From a personal perspective, I have witnessed how individuals from different faculties have formed fantastic relationships courtesy of 5-aside soccer. I remember during my time in campus, the last weeks towards the end of the semester, there used to be football tournaments pitting faculty teams whereby classmates from IT would contest against classmates from Business and other faculties such as Media and Engineering. However, in such a case, the match was 11 versus 11 unlike the other times of the semester where you could easily find 5-aside trending. Such tournaments provided an engaging opportunity to interact with individuals from other faculties and form important networks going forward.

Ladies’ rugby match during the Kenya Universities Sports Association (KUSA) National play-offs at Meru University of Science and Technology in 2020.
Image Credits: Meru University

From a competitive perspective, you could get started by joining the university’s official sports team. For instance, if during your high school years, you were a member of the school’s hockey team, you could join the university’s hockey team and continue in competitive sport. Being part of your institution’s team provides you with an opportunity for external networking where you would interact with learners from other universities and eventually forge vital networks that would be helpful after campus.

Competitive Edge

In the current age whereby almost everyone has a certificate to prove that they went to school, employers are searching for qualities that would grant the applicants a competitive edge. One of the most effective ways of having a competitive edge over other applicants when looking for a job is by being actively engaged in sports. I have an interesting real-life example of how sports could easily make you an ideal candidate for any job application and here it is. During my campus years, we were among the few universities that participated in softball. Interestingly, our ladies’ softball team was the best in the country and they had an opportunity to be invited to the global university games in Canada. You see, including such a fete in your Curriculum Vitae is bound to get employers interested in being around you. Additionally, you could be easily hired for remote work by international companies by virtue of having traveled abroad to a developed nation such as Canada. So, whatever you do, ensure that you actively engage in sport and be serious with it the same way you are serious with books. There are many stories of individuals who perform best in sports who go on to become part of Kenya’s sports teams. Great examples exist in the women’s volleyball team and men’s football team. Employers could easily hire you by virtue of you being a member of Kenya’s sports team.

A happy comrade secures the job.
Image Credits: kenyans.co.ke

Being a sportsperson also gives the employer an impression that you are a good team player and thus would work well in a team within the organization. It also shows that you are an active societal member besides academics. Moreover, being a sportsperson implies that you are a socially active individual and that you have traveled widely during tournaments. Essentially, an active individual oozes enthusiasm that would be vital for enhancing a company’s culture. Hence, to boost your chances of landing a job faster, it is vital that you consider being part of the university’s team in any sport that you specialize in. As a first-year student, it would be vital that you quickly integrate into the university’s official sports team to increase your chances of making the cut into the first team early.

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Scholarships

There exist numerous sports scholarships to study abroad. However, it is worth noting that such scholarships are meant for exemplary individuals who have made a mark in the world of sport. This implies that you need to be the best of the best to qualify for such scholarships. If you are keen on academics and also have the capacity to balance it with sport, then, gaining a scholarship to the best universities across the globe would not be tough for you. Also, there are local scholarships that are common among high school tournaments. A case in point is Strathmore University which is known to sponsor exemplary high school students once they finish their studies by granting them sports scholarships to undertake undergraduate studies at the university.

Being sporty can help you obtain sports scholarships.
Image Credits: DIY College Rankings

As for the study abroad sports scholarships, I know an individual who runs a YouTube channel where he shares the opportunities to be sponsored for college studies through sports-based scholarships. However, it is worth noting that the scholarships are reserved only for the exemplary sportsmen who in one way or another may be lacking the financial capacity to sponsor their studies. For more information regarding the sports scholarship, subscribe to his channel in the link provided in the reference section.5

So, comrades, that’s it for the importance of engaging in sports while in campus. As of now, I bet you understand that the university is not a place where you only come for academics. There is more to campus time than just academics. Take your campus time to forge meaningful relationships that would be vital in building you up even after you graduate. Remember to get started in sports that you may grow healthy, gain an opportunity to network, have a competitive edge during a job application, and also increase your chances of landing scholarships if you intend to study abroad.

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Have a sporty semester, won’t you?

References:

  1. The link to purchase the football from Jumia: https://www.jumia.co.ke/non-branded-size-5-soccer-ball-blue-white-45414279.html
  2. Bangsbo, J., Hansen, P. R., Dvorak, J., & Krustrup, P. (2015). Recreational football for disease prevention and treatment in untrained men: a narrative review examining cardiovascular health, lipid profile, body composition, muscle strength and functional capacity. British journal of sports medicine, 49(9), 568-576.
  3. Bangsbo et al. (2015) : page 571-572
  4. Bangsbo et al. (2015) : page 574
  5. Link to subscribe to Athlete Kipchemis YouTube Channel for sports scholarships: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEDnaYRIURmZarT2pMvgIcA
  6. Featured Image Credits: Obtained from Strathmore University

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