On Target
June 29, 2012
Pushing back the parameters

Over time, sports in general has moved away from simply being a past time and recreation to a viable industry, in which some have become billionaires.

One does not need to look far to see what sports has contributed to livelihood of those involved.{{more}}

The commercial value of sports has also demanded a need for a higher level of efficiency on and off the field of play. Hence, the spinoffs to officials, those who administrate and other job opportunities are emerging.

So much is at stake in sports today, that everyone must be at the top of his/ her game, or one may just have to count the cost of his/her mistake at the opportunity lost.

One can align him or herself with top athletes and become a manager or agent, who make hefty sums, which, although a percentage of the athlete’s earnings, are substantial.

What then are we doing here in St Vincent and the Grenadines in our small corner, to cash in on these openings?

Not much, in a concerted way, one must say.

Yes, there are persons who are gaining benefits; however, in most cases, it is purely accidental.

In the area of Track and Field, there are possibilities for our local officials to be employed in regional meets, and certainly with remuneration.

Volleyball, through the regional body, NORCECA, is also creating avenues for people to ply their trade, practise their craft and at the same time be financially rewarded.

NORCECA is responding with vigour to the slow death of volunteerism, and is ensuring that competent persons are always on hand to administrate its various tournaments.

In line are positions for administrators, press officers, referees, photographers and the very demanding, but rewarding Volleyball Information System (VIS) personnel.

With the amount of Football that is being played around the region and the stakes which go with it, spaces are being created for match officials, match commissioners, masseurs, masseuses, physiotherapists, trainers, psychologists, analysts, dieticians, among other positions.

In the case of match officials, St Vincent and the Grenadines is woefully deficient.

At present, world governing body for Football FIFA prefers that four match officials come from one country, thus the formation of teams is being promoted.

For FIFA matches, referees are paid as much as $500 US per match.

In fact, in some countries, many persons have given up their regular jobs and have taken up refereeing full time.

More and more openings are available for Cricket umpires, scorers and now match referees, as the game is constantly evolving.

And, with technology increasingly becoming an integral part, the demand is on for persons versed in information/ computer technology

Regional Cricket teams are now employing video analysts, as well as other technical analysts.

In short, sports has gone full circle and is an employment outlet away from the actual field for competition.

For us here, it is becoming mandatory, not only in keeping up with the trends, but, additionally, it provides avenues for people to moonlight and at the same time profile themselves.

One can travel the world freely, be accommodated in some of the best hotels, and in the some cases be afforded the luxury of travelling First Class or Executive class.

In pushing back the parameters of sports, the onus is on the various national sports associations to endeavour to provide training in the various fields, not only for local consumption, but for exportation.

For those inclined, the way to start is with the small pay-backs and working one’s way.

It is also a cue for those sportsmen and women who are at the twilight of their career to start seeking a conduit to stay in sports, as there is always a life after the playing days have sunken below the horizon.