On Target
February 27, 2009
You are right, Mr. Minister!

Sports Minister Mike Browne, in recent times, hardly gives a speech without mentioning “the routinisation of sports” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

And, the Minister is dead on target.{{more}}

However, the Minister is merely stopping short of saying that we are spinning our tops in mud, as it relates to the manner in which sports as a whole is viewed and administered from the Ministry of Sports, through to the teams that operate from someone’s work place or home.

It is the same khaki pants that are being worn by almost every national association, and every sporting unit.

And, the template is fully operational once more, as several competitions are in progress and others are set to begin soon.

The national cricket competition got going in earnest last weekend, with the previous weekend set aside for a Six-a-Side competition. The poor turn out at the Six-A-Side exercise was true to form with expectations.

But there was also not much change with the more serious stuff, as teams line themselves up for national Premier and First Division titles.

How many of the teams/ clubs were involved in any sort of serious pre-season practice?

I am certain not many.

It is a common occurrence that players are not even aware of the other members of their team until match day, as there is not much of a coming together prior to the start of competition.

The same situation presents itself with the soon to commence National Club Netball Tournament, as things have not changed over the years. Like other competitions, teams or clubs will come, register, show interest for the first set of matches, then, it is back to square one, as late starts, insufficient players, then, the inevitable, defaulting.

To show where we are, the Marriaqua competition, which opened in early January, had a spattering of players present on the official set start date of January 9, and had to be put off. Luckily, all is well that ends well, as that competition closed off last Sunday.

This is nothing new, and we can give other examples, as the queen of female sport here: Netball, has had its far share of routinisation, if not regression, over the past decade.

The recycling of players on the various units is a common feature. What we are experiencing is truly routinisation, as players represent three or four different units in the various out of season competitions.

For example, High Park in the Marriaqua competition is basically TRAC in the Calliaqua set up. So, too, are a number of Netball teams, who just reconfigure for some of the area competitions.

While nothing is wrong with keeping fit throughout the year, and practising your craft as much as possible, there are more or less the same players who move around, hence restricting the emergence of latent talent.

This sort of repetition seems to be doing more harm than good to the sport.

Madam President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association, Doris Mc Intosh, and her Executive, over the last few months held several workshops to make easy the transition from teams to clubs. This is indeed a good move, as they seek to end the routinisation. But Mc Intosh and her crew must back themselves to hold on with their policy. Let us see what stuff you all are made of.

Likewise, the sameness occurs with the game of the people, Football. And, we can go on and on, but if we do that, it will also be a routinisation, too.

So, to hear the man who has the most say in the direction in which Sports should go is heartening, as he will have to find some way of changing that. Or is it just plain rhetoric?

History will be very unkind to you, Mr. Minister, if you recognise this serious problem, and leave office and not make an effort to reverse the situation.

So the onus is on you, Mr. Minister, to back your mouth and put things in place, otherwise your continuous pronouncements will be a “routinisation”.

Mr. Minister, starting with your own Ministry, please ensure that everyone is on the same page with sports. Make sure that those with the know how are the ones who call the shots, not those with the titles.

Also, that you in your capacity give the National Sports Policy implementation weight, rather than the actual weight of the document.

But it has become some form of a routinisation for this column to keep calling for the removal of the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field, but this routinisation will continue until the objective is met.