Image credit: http://www.skyscrapercity.com
I paid a visit to the National Stadium today. My previous visits had been to attend Sunday services organised by God Bless Nigeria.
Today’s visit was actually sports-related. Following my recent decision to start a swim club, my love for the sport bubbled-up afresh within me and I decided to buy a kick board. A kick board is a rectangular board that swimmers (typically learners) hold on to while they practice their kicks. More experienced and competitive swimmers also use it for exercise and to improve their leg movements.
I’d been scouring Lagos’ sports shops (at Silverbird, the Palms, City Mall, the various Nike stores) looking for one to no avail. On a chance suggestion to try to stadium, I decided to give it a shot.
As I entered the complex, I looked around for the sports SHOP and instead I saw a square of several sports SHOPS. I was spoilt for choice. My sister and I parked and went into the first shop. They had a kick board … a child-sized board. We went into the next shop. The same story. Don’t adults use kick boards? Maybe they can all swim. Or more realistically – from my experience – maybe they can’t and can’t be bothered to learn.
Since we had a lot of options, I eventually found what I was looking for in one of the shops. I also met an acquaintance looking for tennis whites. The most amazing discovery for me was that this gem for sports people exists in Lagos. Each shop stocked a plethora of sports accouterments from equipment like punching bags, weights, balls, rackets, to machinery like treadmills to clothing to accessories like trophies and medals. Not only that, for the large part, the sales staff also seemed knowledgeable about their products. Then, of course the prices beat those I’d seen in island shops hands down!
The stadium has certainly fallen into quite a state of disrepair. Nevertheless, it was vibrant with activity as people abounded rollerblading, playing football, taking tennis lessons and running around the complex. It was heartening to see these activities even though institutional sports in Nigeria is much neglected and under-funded. One simple contribution that we can make – location permitting – is to check out and use the stadium facilities and to support the shops.