On Target
June 8, 2007
Raise the bar

Change is inevitable and constant, but the more we procrastinate, the more old habits become embedded and form part of our psyche, then that change is delayed.

Raising the bar in all aspects of sports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a priority that must be fast tracked.{{more}}

For too long it has been business as usual for some organisations, while a brick wall of resistance is erected whenever some seek to pitch higher their standards of operations.

So we glorify the late start of our sporting events, meetings, and other activities with the excuse of “Vincentian time”, basking in this iniquitous practice. Patrons at some sporting events, deliberately arrive later than the scheduled time of commencement, knowing they will still be early. Scant respect is given to those who abide by the schedule as their reward is always simply an apology for the late start, as this transgression is often repeated.

A good lesson in punctuality was taught at the recent National Lotteries 20/20 softball competition as the organisers were sticklers to time. High marks to them.

Likewise, the National Anthem has become just another rendition as its observance is sometimes greeted with disdain and negligence. It is disgusting to see players totally ignoring its significance. How sad?

It was however heartening to see a group of footballers recently at the Grammar School Playing Field putting a temporary halt to their “sweat”, acknowledging the anthem that was being played for a function in that same vicinity.

This welcomed rarity as displayed by that bunch of footballers nullified when basic protocol such as recognising dignitaries and adherence to a dress code are matters that need urgent redress.

To see national teams leave these shores shabbily attired does not augur well for the instilling of discipline and more so national pride. Standards are not set here, so when our sports people go on overseas assignments, simple social graces cannot be taught overnight.

One top executive member of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation cops the top prize, as he has perfected the art of not adhering to proper dress code even in the representative capacity of that organisation. In turn many take this as a given rather than a deviation.

This sort of ill-discipline whilst appearing to be trivial affects performance and many of our representative outfits are beaten psychologically before they take the fields, the courts, the rings, or the tables, as they get a culture shock when they observe the stark contrast of professionalism exhibited by their opponents.

Recently the Marriaqua Sports Association made efforts to lift the standard of its presentation ceremonies by holding these activities with trimmings and trappings. This sort of initiative must be supported.

Established associations like the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association, Team Athletics SVG have endeavoured to add some pomp to their annual awards shows. This helps in showing to our sportsmen and women what is required of them to build a more rounded individual.

Discipline in our society is narrowed down to the breaking of rules and overt misdemeanours, but this should not be the case. Sportsmen body language and approach to tasks should embody a sense of discipline.

It is a total lack of discipline in instances when teams cannot field a unit for a fixture, barring unforeseen circumstances, where players simply refuse to show up. It is even more disturbing to hear teams that are sponsored lose matches by default.

These same teams cry out for lack of corporate support. But do they deserve it?

On the second day of competition of the current national cricket championship, one team could only field nine players and has subsequently lost a match by the default route. Hence sports is not given the attention it ought to. Respect is earned rather than offered.

The journey towards to get these things right may be arduous, granted that our society has drifted away from norms and values that promoted good citizenship.

Therefore development of the whole athlete must be an objective of teams/clubs and national associations, through modules that enhance the moral, spiritual and social empowerment.

Sporting bodies must ensure that a programme of development and retooling of their administrators is carried out on a continuous basis.

Whilst some of the issues that confront us are manifestations of what is happening in the general society, our sports men, women and administrators can take the lead in helping to effect change.