On Target
January 9, 2009
No games, just sports!

We cannot say for sure that 2008 was a bright year for Sports for us here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

For yet another year, our individual sportsmen and women, our administrators, and our representative teams, have not given us much to be proud of.{{more}}

The sad stories that were read, heard or were kept sealed tight in secrecy all made sports in 2008 an unpalatable meal.

The repulsive ingredients of poor personality, partisan politics, power, plus procrastination have prohibited progress.

Throughout the year, games were played with Sports, as there were no real sports.

But that is water under the bridge, and let us not cry over spilt milk. Picking up the pieces, extracting the positives and dusting the cobwebs off are the tasks at hand.

Whilst every national sporting association and their respective sports authorities have transgressed over the past months, they are still worthy of redemption.

The good thing about the state of sports in this country is that most persons have come to the realisation that we are at the lowest that lowest can be. A case of out of evil should come good.

But the reality check must now be turned into action and corrective reactions.

So where should we begin?

Starting from getting the right set of persons with the know how of sports and its relevance is probably the hardest mountain to climb, but not insurmountable.

Those who are part of organisations simply to have their names called in the press should be honest with themselves and make their exit.

In addition, it is high time the long, toothless document titled ‘the National Sports Policy’ gets teeth and is weaned from being a mere document in writing rather than in practice.

There are parts of the policy that are in train. However, a great chunk of it is still untouched and acts as an impediment.

In addition, more emphasis should be given to Physical Education, as this vital aspect of development has for too long been left to chance, instead of there being structured programmes designed to get Vincentians to embrace healthy lifestyles.

This key aspect of human endeavour should be given greater importance, granted the much touted “Wellness Revolution”.

Here, the availability of the nation’s facilities must inter-twine with the programme, and not be just an appendage.

Hence, the role of the National Sports Council should be more pronounced.

Also the promotion of Area Committees, to get back to the once loved community sports and community involvement, must be encouraged and sustained.

Likewise, despite the commendable efforts of the National Sports Council in organising the annual National Sports Awards, it is high time that they look at rewarding winners of the various categories more handsomely, so as to act as an added incentive for our sportsmen and women, to perform better.

Too, our local media must see sports as critical and attach the desired significance to the coverage of local events.

However, associations and their athletes should in turn be such that they are worthy of getting the deserved media recognition and prominence.

Associations in the main have not learned the art of courting the media, as many lack a proper public relations strategy.

These are just some of the starters on the road for a sporting recovery and renaissance.

But as we ponder on what has transpired, may the immediate future be pleasant and the past a bright dream as we get to that sought after vision to see sports more than just games.

The vision that readily hits us is throwing all the support to the country’s Under-20 footballers, and extend best wishes for positive outcomes in their favour this weekend in the finals of the Caribbean Zone of the CONCACAF Qualifiers to this year’s World Cup.

You have done this nation proud by reaching thus far.

And, even if the desired results are not attained, at least those who are selected gave the nation the best of your abilities.

But it is with persistence, patience, perseverance, and perennial pluck that this column, week after week, plugs away at the call for the removal of the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.