On Target
October 2, 2009
Missing Link – the Cradle

The cry for better organised competitions, and in general, greater emphasis on sports among the primary schools has become more of a wail, as evidence of the missing link is exposed whenever students move on to the secondary schools.{{more}}

It is without a doubt the skills, knowledge and, ultimately, the performances of students in the various sporting disciplines at the secondary competitions leave much to be desired.

There has been a state of apathy in the way sporting competitions in the primary schools have been left to wander into a vacuum of negligence.

Everyone knows where the problems lie. However, the mourning and pleading are not being heard or are being decidedly ignored.

So, just dismiss as mere ole talk what is being said by some boldfaced officials who have the gall to say that things are happening in sports at the pre teen age, which coincides with primary school stage.

Need I remind those who know that studies show that the best time to capture children is between the ages of 7 and 12. Hence the continued call for greater efforts to be engaged in getting young players to that level of proficiency.

Local history shows that at primary school, Football sets the foundation for formidable future national teams.

The last time we had meaningful primary schools Football competitions back in the 1980’s, we produced good players like Kendall “Ken I” Velox, Tyrone “Tiba” Prince, Alwyn “Porpey” Guy, Christopher “Brazilian” Harry, Vincent John, Curtis “Fame” Joseph, Cornelius Huggins, Rodney “Chang” Jack, all of whom went on to serve this country with varying levels of distinction and moreso formed the core of national teams for about a decade.

When last have you heard of a Primary Schools’ Football competition?

When last have we put on a National Primary Schools Athletics Championships or a Zonal Primary Schools Championship for that matter?

Team Athletics SVG, through its Juvenile Championships, endeavours to capture competitions among the primary schools’ athletes, but participation and interest continue to wane, an obvious throw back from what obtains at the respective individual primary schools, as there is very little hype and significance.

Cricket has been left to the farcical excuse of the introduction to Cricket via the Kiddy Cricket Programme, but that, too, had has dropped from the radar.

Mini Tennis, a good initiation to the sport, has fallen into the lap of forgetfulness.

There is some semblance of a Primary Schools’ Netball Championship, but that, too, has not gained widespread participation, but it is worth continuing and bolstered with improvements all round.

Leaving talents to develop by chance today will result in misfits, as sports and their corresponding expectations have been taken to another level.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, the effects of that important bridge are far reaching, as neither the Ministry of Sports, the Department of Physical education, nor the respective national associations or federations have input in the development at the primary schools.

Some attempts have been made and continue to be made in this regard, but are all too piecemeal, unstructured and in some instances a duplicity of tasks rendered.

The best practice is for all to knock heads, pool the limited resources and eventually devise a blue print for the resuscitation of sports in the primary school.

This may be ideal, but it seems to be only wishful thinking as the age-old issue of dominance and chest thumping will surface. And, as has happened in the past, everything could go back to square one.

Be that as it may, in times of despair, let us all with that will clutch on to the feather of hope wedged in our conscience of good deeds and chart the future of primary school sports by changing the present by drawing on the past.

Hope also rests on the call for the removal of that “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.