On Target
September 10, 2010
Ignored and almost forgotten

Sports is holistic, hence its development must also follow the same pathway.

Here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, much of the attention given to sports is channeled towards the areas of technical development of the athletes, coaches and infrastructure.{{more}}

This is good, but we tend to ignore and almost forget the other facets critical to the whole cake.

Here I speak mainly of sports commentary and athletes ability to hold interviews.

Certainly, there is dearth of persons with a good command of the English Language, good voices, knowledge of the various sporting events and persons who can bring enlightening commentary to the listeners and viewers.

Persons who are adept at commentating on several sporting disciplines are also lacking.

As it is, we often ignore this aspect of sports, which is a vital selling card for sports as it draws persons out of their homes to where the action is.

Persons like Lennox John have been doing the job since I have known about sports commentary. That is over three decades, so that just shows not only his stick-ability, but indicates that others seem not to be interested.

When others do come forward, we seem to think that anyone who can speak through a microphone and more so, one who is brave enough to do so, is a commentator.

Hence at some live radio commentaries of sporting events, listeners are exposed to some poor excuses for running reports of the on field activities.

Maybe, the time has come for the radio and television stations here to embark on training for persons interested in this field.

With persons adequately equipped with the rudiments of commentating, this will only help in the quality of the broadcast and aid in the stations’ ability to attract sponsorship.

And, communication is not restrictive.

I cherish the day when our local newspaper editors would dare use a local sporting achievement on their front pages. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

I hope I will not have to wait too long, as some Vincentian, somewhere, sometime soon will light up the world for us.

When we start to promote sports cartoons as a medium of sporting expression, this would add another flavour of presentation to those who are not interested in sports per se, but who can be caressed into paying attention, simply by such visual and artistic expressions.

We have also been ignoring the importance of having our sportsmen and women trained in giving interviews competently.

Little attention is paid to this facet of sports development of our athletes. Many struggle to respond to simple questions when asked.

In many instances, it is not that they lack the verbal communication skills, but have not been exposed to interrogation, especially when caught unawares.

Even at the national level, many struggle to respond adequately with much confidence and poise.

Again, if we seriously want our players to get that holistic development, surely, they must be outfitted with that tool of communication.

A few years ago, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association had an exercise on how to respond to the media. Also, when the North Leeward Under-15 Cricket in the late 1990’s was king, the man of the match was interviewed, as part of a training ground for the young cricketers.

It is my belief that some basic training should be given to all national selected teams in this regard, as this will say a lot for the sport itself and the country as a whole.

I do not always subscribe to the trend that only designated persons should speak to the press, as no one knows who will excel at a particular event, hence, all must be equipped with that ability to communicate.

Let us get with it and improve our all round communications efforts.

Still not ignored is the call for the removal of that “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.