On Target
December 18, 2009
Just some observations

As a boy growing up in the 1970’s, there was always this town versus country rivalry. Then, the “town man”, “countryman” labels, especially in sports, were commonplace, resulting in feelings of inferiority/superiority among some.

The dynamics of the Vincentian sporting landscape brought further sub division. There was also a demarcation in the Kingstown area, more so among the football fraternity as there was the “Uptown” against “Downtown” rivalry.{{more}}

But it was also felt by persons outside Kingstown and its immediate environs that sportsmen and sportswomen from the rural areas were given a “rotten deal”, and in some cases marginalized from national representation.

With time, though, that has changed, and in fact today there is almost negligible representation from persons who reside in Kingstown and its suburbs. A look at the senior national men’s Cricket team will show that no one from Kingstown made it to St. Lucia. All except one player hail from the Windward side of the island.

There was a similar occurrence when the Under-19 team travelled to Grenada for the annual age group tournament in April.

The trend continued when the Under-15’s journeyed last week to St. Lucia. Of the thirteen member team, only one player can be considered not from the rural areas.

Joining in the parade is Netball, as that, too, has seen the slow evaporation of players from the Kingstown area making their way to the national teams.

What then has caused the slow down, near halt, of the production of creditable national players from Kingstown and its surrounding areas?

Has the restricted use of Victoria Park caused the demise of players, especially in the sport of Football? How has this contributed to the disappearance of area teams, especially from Rose Place aka Bottom Town?

Has there been a refocusing of energies away from youngsters from Kingstown, or are there not many sporting role models for them to emulate? Conversely, why is it that the rural areas are producing national sportsmen and women at will?

The composition of the most recent senior national Football team that travelled to St. Kitts/Nevis two months ago showed the trend of few selectees coming from Kingstown. Three decades ago, a litter of “town men” filled the national Football team.

Is it a cultural phenomenon that Layou and Barrouallie seem to be the bedrock for national footballers at all levels, with the former the more prominent?

Athletics, in recent times, has seen the bulk of the middle and long distance runners coming from the northern parts of the island. A look at the road races will just tell the story.

Likewise, why are most national cricketers emerging from the North Windward and North Central Windward constituencies?

Think of the fact that South Rivers, a community that still does not have a full fledged playing field, has produced two persons who have played for the West Indies, in the persons of Cameron Cuffy and Deighton Butler.

What is also most interesting is that the rural areas cannot boast of having the best sporting facilities at their disposal. Is it an inner will to succeed that is the accelerator which makes these players strive more than others to get by? Is it something in their diet that is propelling them to national representation?

Or is it that they are just the best among a lot of non-performers?

What is the case? It seems that it may be something beyond our comprehension, as the trend is not confined to this country only.

One of the region’s brightest prospects in the 400 m, Grenadian Kerani James, is a raw talent who was brought up in the rural area of his homeland. The same is the case of current sprint sensation Jamaican Usain Bolt.

While we here search for answers for this apparent shift, which may not be forthcoming, what should be our focus at this time is to ensure that those who represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines do so with the best of their God given abilities.

No residence, though, for the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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