Rio anxiety is taking over

French basketball players Tony Parker, right, Nando de Colo, left, and Nicolas Batum congratulate each other following their 83-74 win over Canada in the finals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying match on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. The win qualified France for the Rio Olympics. AP Photo

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Get ready for the Rio Olympic Games... It’s almost here. The wait will soon be over with

just 24 days to go. Since I can remember, I have had a passion for play, aka sports. Growing up in Belmont, I remember vividly the hours upon hours of play.

Go to school and play. Go home and play. Play. Play. Play.

You also played mas. Played the steelpan. Played the fool.

But play was the centre of the universe. You lived to play.

And then somewhere along the way the incessant badgering to get serious got traction. So out went play to be replaced by being serious. The fact that the real key to a fulfilling life is to enjoy life. In other words play would prove the ultimate irony.

Play. The people who have the most joy are the ones who enjoy life and do as if living is one big playground. Add into the discourse the reality that there are some who earn big dollars to play, be great at play and to provide entertainment for others to watch.

Sport, physical activity and play are lifelong experiences that enrich the human personality. People can actually develop a sense of tolerance and mutual respect by simply playing sports. That word again, play.

By playing organised sports each of us can develop respect for different cultures, basic human values and concerns and can encourage a passion for excellence.

Recently, I was reading a paper about Olympic history and the writer made the point that the founders of the modern Olympic movement had a vision for the Olympic Games: That the Games would inspire children and young people to participate in physical activities and sport.

The vision in other words was that the Olympic Games will inspire children and young people to play and enjoy play. For all the complex ideas and discussions, it can be distilled to play... finding excellence in play or during play or by playing.

And by doing so people will enjoy participating in physical activity and sport for their whole lives. By enjoying physical activity and sports every day we will be healthier. Participating in regular physical activity and sports becomes a way of life.

It’s hard for some people to accept that it’s that simple but it is. The secret to it all is to find a way to allow the children of Trinidad and Tobago to play and to feel free to do so.

Play... play... play is the key to greatness.

As we head into the three weeks to go territory pre-Rio 2016, soon billions of people around the world will tune into various media platforms to watch the best in the world doing what they do best: Play.

There is a reason so many will spend countless hours watching people play and live vicariously watching others play. The enjoyment of play will take centre stage.

It’s serious business.

This week the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) will announce the Rio 2016 TeamTTO (Team Trinidad and Tobago) delegation.

Everyone with an interest in the Olympics will pay close attention to the TeamTTO announcement.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Brian Lewis is the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC). The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee. Support #10 Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund. Make your donations to any branch of Scotiabank, account number 171188.

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