On Target
March 11, 2005

The struggle for sporting facilities

The opening of the Penniston Playing field next Monday is a welcome development. It is a genuine symbol of our emerging heritage. Tribute is due to those who have responded to the community’s needs, in not just obvious ways. {{more}}

The importance of sport in life, and especially the Caribbean, can never be overlooked. Experts will tell you and evidence has proven that a sport loving nation is more healthy, and ultimately more productive.

Residents of the South Central Windward district of Mt. Greenan will be happy to start enjoying sporting facilities in their neighbourhood. Congratulations are also in order for the provision of those worthwhile needs.

Those folks in Park Hill will be hoping that the groundbreaking ceremony for their recreational facility is not far away.

Provision of sporting facilities can never be over-emphasised here or anywhere for that matter.

People in Troumaca are still up in arms because of the destruction of their playing field in the late 1960’s. The erection of the Troumaca Ontario Secondary School on that sight, was never a welcome gesture by the youths. Not that the value and importance of education was not appreciated.

But many other plots of land were available where schools could have been placed. And there was not the need to destroy whatever crude arena the villagers had carved out for themselves.

But the powers of the day ignored cries from the persons who mattered most, the youths. For they had seen the need to have a place for the youths to release pent up energies.

Then the tragedy was compounded with attempts to close down that Secondary and transform into a primary institution. History has shown that that measure proved unpopular with the Troumaca villagers, and served to rekindle the flames for the quest for sporting facilities in that minute North Leeward village. The numbers in that village have reduced drastically from a bubbling lively community with almost all the ingredients of city life, to a mere representation of a surviving generation. But the need for the playing field still echoes in the district. And the guardians of the arena have not abandoned the hope that their playing field will be returned. For there is eternal hope that rests within the bosoms of those who hold the area dear to their hearts.

And in any case, land would eventually be needed for the provision of the new playing field. Efforts were made to appease an irritated population with lands for replacement facilities in Troumaca. And the persons made do with what they had. But the competition for lands for housing took its toll on the meagre facilities, which was forced on to the villagers.

So the issue has gone a full cycle, but seeing that the will is perhaps more apt for the realisation of sporting facilities, it would not be ironic nor satirical that what should have been done at first, eventually takes place in the end. I always believe that no ill wind blows, and every thing happens in its right time.

But whatever it is, sport is an essential element of life. It helps to shape character and prepare its participants for other aspects. And the lessons learnt on the sport field, or off the field for that matter, if the student of the game is dedicated, will benefit the athlete.

Sports must be applied in a scientific manner. Health personnel and or nutrition experts will have to be deployed within the school system to ensure proper coordination of all aspects. Programmes must be arranged to gather maximum value from the exercises.

With the thrust towards widening literacy, creative means will have to be employed to spread out the impact of that crusade. And one dares not overlook the role that sports can play in that venture. Competition among participating members can go a long way in enhancing camaraderie, whether in the neighbourhood or beyond the immediate borders. Then the impact of culture interaction is a source of lessons that no classroom can ever offer.

The situation could be deemed global. The message of Sport for all is one that we will do well to embrace. And it is bound to bring rewards to a nation where natural talent abounds. The need to harness the potential and have them refined is all that is lacking.

Opportunities are expanding for the seizure of scholarships abroad on the basis of one’s sporting ability. But that has to be matched with equally outstanding academic achievements. We have to encourage our children to take part in sports while not neglecting their books. And the provision of facilities remains a critical element to the growth of this society.