Should Students Receive Incentive to Play Sport?

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By Catherine Fulton

It’s no secret that many UCT students are not keen to play sport. It’s also not surprising when sport clubs
go to great lengths to get people to sign up to their clubs during plaza week; by providing gifts or goodie
bags as an incentive.
But the serious question remains: Is it worth it?
Whilst a lot of clubs take part in competitions, the amount of effort that goes towards training is
unbelievable; and it’s all for a medal. What if you don’t win, and you end up coming home empty
handed? VARSITY received an opportunity to chat to both sporty and non-sporty students, to ask what
they thought of the matter.
“I don’t think that students should receive some kind of reward,” said an anonymous rowing athlete.
This student believed that the progress of training, improvement in fitness and capability should be
enough incentive itself. “Students can be really lazy. If you work hard, it pays off,” the rower said.
Many students who were not partaking in sport at UCT thought that students should receive incentives
for partaking, as it would encourage more participation. “It will encourage those who don’t normally do
sport at UCT, so it could be helpful for some people,” said Claire Gomes, an actuary student. She went
on to say that frequent, small rewards such as chocolates or cupcakes every odd training session would
surely help people to get on board, as often it’s just the little things that can make the world of
Another idea was to allow for extra credits or points to go towards a degree, as often students find
themselves willing to do extra work if in need of extra credits. “This is more of a need, and so if UCT
sport clubs could award points or credits for participation, it would definitely attract more students who
do not want to do extra assignments,” said Anne Fulton. She also pointed out that sometimes it takes a
while before students get into sport until they no longer need an incentive to get involved.
“It may help to give that extra push,” she said. Other students, such as Manali Kapadia, also thought that
incentives would not work, saying “you could even pay me to take part, and I still wouldn’t do any
sport.” Another student, San Mari, had an amusing response regarding how to entice students to play
sport. “Entice them? I thought you said entire ice-cream. I guess that answers your question,” she said.
Students that are already involved in sport believed that the benefits of joining a club is incentive
enough. “I joined the squash league because of the social aspect of it,” said a humanities student, Haley
Jones. She also made a point about the financial aspect of sport, as although it could be beneficial, it can
be expensive. She believes “that club fees could be a deterrent though.”
Emphasis was placed on the sense of belonging that sport can give, as it provides a purpose and a sense
of fulfillment. You belong to a team, and therefore you get incentive to better yourself. Many students
found that they felt good about themselves in learning a new skill, as well as finding a fun way to get fit
and healthy.
With the variety of responses, it is evident that incentive may only work for some people. Nevertheless,
it is a way of encouraging some students, if not all. The only way students can find out if sport is for
them is to try it themselves. Everyone is different, and I believe that only you will know yourself best.

Contact sports@varsitynewspaper to have your say.

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