Traditional rural sports regained attraction during COVID-19

MULTAN: Traditional rural sports appeared to have gained attention of the people during the coronavirus-related restrictions, an opportunity people availed to peep into their past and indulge in games they used to play in their childhood.

The healthy activities were on decline in rural areas as people had left playing those games which they and their elders were once fond of. The lockdown had forced countless people to move to their rural hometowns, either due to monetary problems due to losing jobs, or, in case of affluent class, to spend some quiet quality time enjoying nature’s beauty and most importantly to be away from the virus risk in urban areas.

During the early wave of the deadly virus, people stuck themselves inside homes and restricted their outdoor activities but they had started small get together with their close ones before start of the second wave.

Muhammad Suleman from Chak 345/wb, Dunyapur, told REPORTER that he was a permanent resident of Lahore for the last 12 years but returned with family to his native town Dunyapur after COVID-19 put his business operations at risk. He said that he started playing traditional games of his childhood like “Gulli Danda” , “Wanju”, “Kabbadi”, arm wrestling, volleyball, street cricket, Luddo, ‘Kanchay”, “Stoliya” and many other games which he played with his elders years ago.

‘The experience was an unforgettable joy” and it also made his son Noman have the taste of the traditional games he had never heard of. Noman Ali said, he played these games for the first time ever in his life and found it different and more entertaining than games on smartphone. He said: “Playing with glass balls (Kanchay) with age fellows was more entertaining than online games.”

An old landlord from the same village, Ashfaq Hussain, said, the lockdown had affected life adversely but it did one big favour adding it brought the scattered family members back home again to enjoy gossip with one another and play games they had almost forgotten.

He said that his two sons were living in different cities for their jobs and they seldom came home due to official responsibilities. “Now my two sons and their families are back home and enjoying family reunion after seven long years under one roof as they used to enjoy over a decade ago.

On the other hand, a large number of youngsters can be seen playing different traditional games in the villages while elders play cards, Luddo and other games on the other side.

The worldwide pandemic claimed thousands of lives and affected millions but on the other side, it provides opportunity to reunite families and revive traditional games after a long time.