At Project KHEL we use the “power of play” and utilise sport as a tool to achieve developmental goals. Since 2012, we have played mainstream sports such as volleyball and football (soccer); indigenous sports such as kho-kho and pitthu and also our own customized versions of sports such as touch rugby, rounders and rumaal kabaddi with more than 2500 children on a regular basis. Through these sports we ensure we focus on values such as fair play, winning and losing magnanimously, following rules and promote behaviour change related to gender sensitivity, conflict resolution, honesty and so on.
As a sport, Ultimate embodies all of the above and more! Ultimate checks all the boxes this article on The “right” sport to use in Sport for Development lists. Ultimate is a microcosm of life and the values learnt in this environment will carry the athlete through the sport and out the other side into life. The values include self belief, how to abide by rules, how to persevere and develop a will to win, how to get up after being knocked down and how to set shared goals with their teammates. (This is far from the ‘win at all costs’ mentality that most of the world is used to).
Many schools, colleges and social groups use this fun sport to promote good sportsmanship and help participants develop conflict resolution skills. The on-field behavior slowly becomes a way of life and permeates into the players’ decision making in all aspects of their lives – Ultimate was designed to promote not only athleticism, but also character in a hyper competitive environment.
When players step on the ultimate field, they are expected to empathize, they are expected to not cheat, they are expected to self-regulate and they learn to calm their temper. They learn how to remain highly competitive and yet not display any aggression or poor sportsmanship in the pursuit of remaining competitive.