The essence of this paper is to ascertain the influence of sports participation as a catalyst that aids in the promotion of health and quality living among individuals in the society. The paper also tries to examine the roles in which participation in sports can play in the development of an individual and society as a whole such as physical fitness, mental and emotional fitness, skills development, recreational benefits, aesthetics/entertainment benefits, citizenship/patriotism, scholarship, career development and economic benefits. It was concluded that, sports constitutes an area of human activity and recommended that all educational and non-educational institutions should embrace sports. The ministries of education, health and social development should ensure that sports is given a priority in the school curriculum; trained and qualified personnel should manage sports positions in the schools and ministries and their inputs given consideration in policy formulation.
Keywords: sports participation, health promotion, quality living, catalyst and society.
At the beginning of conceiving the idea of establishing a school, there has to be some provision for sporting activities, equipment and facilities put in place. In most schools, no day passes by without those facilities being put to use in one form or the other. For example the football field is used daily for either gymnastics or soccer. These activities could be organized or miniature types chosen freely by students of the schools or youths of immediate communities. Also physical exercise which is a very important instrument for the healthy growth and development of children and youths normally takes place better in the field and courts. Not only that, matching activities for preparation of children towards Children's Day, Independence Day and many other social activities like traditional dances are organized in school inform of play and sports. The development of desirable habits, attitudes, values and skills that would enable students fit well into the society is adequately encouraged and taken care by medium of sporting programmes. Good enough sports has been recognized from the onset to be an integral part of any school system.
According to Ahiauzu (1995) sports has taken a centre stage in the conduct of diplomacy, and the evolution of development and opines that sports is education, sports is life and sports bring people together. Sports has assumed an enviable height of being an instrument of promoting unity, understating and fostering peace where others like politics and religions have failed.
Edim, Emeribe and Akah (2008) expressed that it is not an overstatement to remark here that of all school subjects put together, sports alone can take a very prominent position in the educational system. Sports if properly harnessed, can contribute about fifty percent (50%) or more to the educational goals of the society. It is a well known fact that sports and recreation have been fundamental elements of the curricula of institutions throughout history. According to anthropological and historical researchers, physical education and sport are the most ancient subjects in the humanities. From early to the present time, sports in one form or the other has been promoted by all fields of world civilization. It has received varying degrees of cultural and government emphasis and attention, (Oyeniyi, 2001).
According to Ndu (1990), conditioning and training programmes guide students through various activities to achieve fitness and learn how to develop and maintain it. Modern sports programmes also provide experiences that can be directed towards self integration of the individual. It fulfils other social roles through the employment of movement activities for other learning outcomes. Sports education promotes the understanding of motion as a universal phenomenon with which to cope with life obstacles in the environment. …