On Target
November 19, 2004
Basketballers still feeling the grind

The September 10 issue of the Searchlight newspaper highlighted the conditions that exist for facilities for basketball at the Montrose “Home”.

That was at the start of the 2004 Vinlec National Basketball Championship. Three months after, the situation has not improved. However, the season is coming to an end. A number of matches this weekend are part of the grand finale. {{more}}

But the National Basketball Association still has to get its act together if the sport is to maintain any semblance of appreciation by players, fans, spectators and well wishers.

Security of the area remains a prime concern. Vandalism should not be allowed to overcome any facility.

Acts of lawlessness on the facility is a sad indictment of our depraved mentality and lack of appreciation of the efforts to improve basketball here.

The broken down shack, serving as an administrative centre, has worsened since the start of the season, and the surroundings continue to present danger to all who venture within the compound.

Securing benches for the players to sit on during the matches remains a difficulty, for vandals don’t care what they destroy.

The National Sports Council will have to work out something with the Basketball Association to ensure that the sport gets the respect it ought to.

The fact that no electronic clock exists at Montrose was perhaps one of the reasons why a Dominican squad was not encouraged to have the Montrose facility as part of its itinerary.

The Dominicans played two games on the Northern Grenadine isle. Valley Nets, the Southern Grenadines Zone winner, warmed up for the “Big Four” with a match against the Dominicans. Their loss in big fashion was perhaps an indication of the deterioration in the standard of the sport here, even though we are still the Windward Islands champions.

Congratulations to Vinlec for coming forward with sponsorship of the tournament. But why is the Basketball Association not advancing plans to ensure that the “Home” is spruced up to reflect some level of pride in the sport. After all, basketball was blamed for the decline in the fortunes of West Indies cricket. It was put forward as a theory that Caribbean youngsters were gravitating towards basketball, perhaps influenced by the frequency and apparent glitter of basketball matches beamed from television stations.

The cry about cultural penetration and its negative impact on Caribbean lifestyle has been echoing in varying circles.

Why the facilities are so primitive is another reflection of our uncaring and undignified approach to national development.

Something has to be done to rectify the situation as it affects the Montrose Hard Court. It is more than just the home for basketball. The Secondary School Tournament uses it as a centre of activity. We know the importance of inculcating values from an early age, and nurturing youths even from the primary school age is seen as a way of building a foundation for the sport.

The number of athletes getting basketball scholarships is ample reason for the sport to be given its real focus. Someone has to take responsibility, make the right approaches and ensure that basketball gets on a firmer footing. There are too many youths who can improve their lives on the basis of their skills in basketball. But improvements have to be made at the Montrose Court.