Pampered young generation
The recent disappointing performances of our national game introduced in Malta way back in the 1880s and the naïve satisfaction and exaltation in placing fourth in the Small Nations Games especially founded in the mid- 1980s by Maltese administrators demonstrate a major deficiency in the upcoming generation.
The pursuit of excellence in high performance sport needs that sharp competitive edge, the staying power and psychological acumen that is manifestly lacking in the younger generation. It is now evident that our children and youths are not trained throughout their scholastic life to be competitive, to be the best, to outstretch themselves to reach higher goals.
We have abolished completely the schools’ football leagues; nurseries do not hold competitive leagues but a festival. The combined annual athletic meetings for primary and secondary schools are no longer held. It’s as if competition has become a dirty word.
Teachers complain that there are prize-winning students who refuse to be present on prize day for fear of being called nerds. We have eradicated completely the sense of achievement and now we are reaping mediocrity on the world arena with countries like Cyprus, Luxembourg, Iceland and Montenegro outstripping us when 20 years ago we were superior, scaling Olympian heights.
Many of our youth do not even have the staying powers of attending sports courses for a year abroad – they expect the comfort blanket of dear home.
Of course the making of a sports champion is based on many factors apart from exceptional skill, fitness and stamina, and this includes the psychological factors, that of having an edge over your opponent and the will to win, which our pampered youngsters have completely lost.
A new winning mentality can only be restored by initiating a two-year military service without any further delay.