Would Somebody Like Roger be a Success if he is Malaysian?
In half an hour or so, everyone in my household will be glued to the TV to watch Mr Federer (Roger to his friends) will take on the A Rod in the Winbledon Men's Singles Final. That got me thinking. Should Malaysia for some reason were to be blessed with similar talents, will we be able to polish it into a gem?
As far as I can see, there are a few hurdles, both traditional and current. We have, especially amongst Malays this mindset that sports are only for those academically challenged. Those that are talented would have been institutionally discourage from pursuing sports for fear of not doing well in their exams. I am proud to say that I went to MRSM Terendak during my formative years and benefited greatly. I am not going to pretend that sports are my forte, but the school management were so unhelpful when it come to us excelling in sports it was untrue. We were told off when we asked to take our monthly tests early because it clashed with our football games. The answer straight out of the bat was, "Did you come here to study or to play football?". Mind you, that was for state Finals! And yes, we won.
How sad to see some of our promising youngsters in sports such as gymnastics and bowling came to a head having to decide between going to University or pursuing their Sports? The problem is just not mindset, it is infrastructure as well. Our University were just not able to accommodate talented sportmans, and should they be pushed to decide between sports and education in the Universities, the same age old question will crop up again. "Did you come to University to play sports or to get a degree?". No wonder our graduates did not fare well in the job market. Mind you, I am a University Lecturer!
God knows how many world class sportmen and women Malaysia has missed out on, just down to this mindset and infrastructure.