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Rise of Professionalism in Sports

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Rise of Professionalism in Sports

Sports, in the context of our present day society, cover a vast range of activities, such as athletics, bowling, basketball, soccer, etc. Any game or competition that is designed to test physical skill is considered a sport; hence the list of sports can go on endlessly. In the past, all these were only very simple games, but they have evolved tremendously over the years and now, have become very professional sports, with many high-tech equipment to boost the sportsman's performance. Take bowling for example; it dates all the way back to 5200 BC in Egypt, where kids literally take a ball-like object to throw at marble bars, resembling pins. It then slowly spread

to other countries, where the game was gradually modified to today's ten-pin bowling. Unlike the ancient times, there are bowling alleys now, equipped with wooden or synthetic lanes with varied oiling patterns. With the advancement of technology, various equipments such as wrist-guards, bowling shoes and personal bowling balls have been invented to aid bowlers in their game. Apart from all these, there are even various techniques and skills required to achieve excellence. Therefore, these sports have indeed proved themselves to have changed significantly over the years.

Nowadays, sports have rise beyond national to international level of competition. Events, like the Olympics, SEA games, World Cup, etc. are held for countries to compete against each other in sports. Countries take special effort and capital to groom their own sportsmen to compete worldwide, but other countries prefer to recruit foreign talents instead. As for our country, our government did not care much in our involvement in the sporting arena in the past. Academic results were the most important. However, in recent years, we have produced star players, like Remy Ong, who did our country proud by winning many international tournaments. Hence, our government decided to support the rise of professionalism in sports in Singapore by emphasizing more on it than before. Evidence of this would be the recruitment of foreign talent such as table-tennis champ, Li Jiawei from China, etc. and also the setting up of the Singapore Sports School in Woodlands. The sports school is the first of its kind in our country, allowing gifted sportsmen to train and study there. However, the government still did not neglect the academic side of the school as it only admits students from the Express stream.

The rise of professionalism in sports has its pros and cons as money is involved, but I personally feel that the cons weigh heavier than the pros. Firstly, in every sport, gambling is seldom absent. People gamble on sportsmen and even the sportsmen gamble among themselves. For the sportsmen, they feel that without money involved, there is no challenge to the game. As for the spectators, they gamble not because they like the sport or the sportsmen, but purely to win money. Where, then, is the true meaning of sports? Instead of a competition of physical abilities, the sports arena has become another gambling den. In places like America, people often turn violent when they lose their bets, injuring and causing harm to others. In extreme cases, some may even hire people to attack the sportsmen from the opposing team. This is the dark side of the rise of professionalism.

The recruitment of foreign talent has always been a very controversial issue. Needless to say, they are a great help to the country which recruited them, having a higher chance of victory than locals, but where is the sense

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