On Target
November 30, 2007
Backward move!

The decision by the Marriaqua Sports Association (MSA) to revert this year to the old ways of its presentation ceremony can only be described as a backward step.

For three years, the association attempted to add some dignity to its presentation ceremony by having something close to a gala event.{{more}}

But this year it plans to do the reverse. The ceremony was to have been at the finals of its football competition, which was to have concluded last Sunday at the Cane End Playing Field. Unfortunately, heavy rains postponed the final to this Sunday.

Bowing under pressure from those who enjoy the “hapsy scrapsy” way of collecting a trophy or prize money soon after the finals of their respective disciplines, the Larry Bascombe-led executive has given them their wish.

I know those who got their desire would be having a big laugh next Sunday.

I would have thought that the progressive minded Bascombe would have held out and maintained a firm stance on the matter. Unfortunately, he and his other members thought and did otherwise.

Explain this, Mr. Bascombe!

How can Mr. Bascombe and his colleagues explain and justify to their sponsors and other well wishers their retrograde actions?

It is sometimes unsightly to see players going to the podium to receive prizes, scantly dressed, and often times sporting an alcoholic beverage in hand.

Here, it is clearly a case of the tail wagging the dog, and as an active participant of previous ceremonies of the MSA, I recognised there were some dissenting voices to the format. However, this was not enough to warrant such drastic actions. Probably a review of the exercise could have been a better proposition.

For too long, sports has been dragged into the dirt, and the MSA’s efforts for the past three years were intended to excavate it, even within the confines of the Marriaqua Valley.

Instead, the MSA is back to square one. But while they do so, others are contemplating otherwise. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation is one such entity that has plans to have an annual awards ceremony. Word is out that the Barrouallie Sports Association plans to do likewise.

Deep appreciation

Team Athletics SVG and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association are the pioneers in this regard. Similarly, the inaugural Bequia Cricket Competition, held earlier this year, went the way of a dinner and prize giving ceremony.

What this sort of ceremony does is give to the athletes some form of deep appreciation that they are deserving of an occasion that is worthy of attention and pomp. In addition, some use it as a fund raiser, while paying homage to outstanding individuals.

We speak often of developing a sports culture, and moreso a football culture, yet we are taking actions that act contrary to this end.

At the heart of this issue, though, is the preponderance of sporting units, rather than clubs. Had clubs been the dominant force, players would be reigned in, and decisions would be made to reflect the view of the entire body. With the club structure certainly lacking, this still should not give rise tothe continuation of low standards of operations, but a sustained move to raise the bar at every given opportunity. And, in the absence of such, the parent bodies should provide the guidance.

It is crucial that we extricate ourselves from this locked mode that such mediocrity is our hallmark of excellence.

I maintain in this instance that the MSA is erring. But it is my hope that it is a one off situation, and that administrative wisdom would prevail next time around.

Whilst the MSA has slipped up, the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field also remains a backward move, irrespective to the explanations that are being given for its erection.