On Target
September 6, 2013

A different strand of sports psychology

Sports has its own brand of competition, and that is inextricable, as its very nature permits this.

On the local sporting scene, there continues to be the battle for dominance of one sport’s popularity over the other.{{more}}

This, after the town versus country fight for representation on the national football and cricket teams, over time, has sorted itself out.

Cricket, after ruling the roosts as the main sport played here for many years, has seen its popularity and appeal wane.

With the passage of time, some parity was established with other sports.

But there is a compelling feeling, here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, that there is preferential treatment that is handed out to cricket, as opposed to the other sports.

And, there are various factors which point in this direction and further fuel the debate.

It is widely touted that most playing fields are multipurpose and no one discipline has exclusivity to them — agreed.

At most playing fields in St Vincent and the Grenadines, there is a cricket pitch, and with the delicate nature of the pitches, much time is invested in preparing them.

In the process, the other sports have to give way.

As it relates the showpiece venue, the Arnos Vale One Playing Field, this is understandable, as it is widely accepted and enshrined that international and regional matches have priority, as they bring in much needed revenue.

However, it is mainly cricket that gives short notice for such hosting, which often causes others to shelve or defer their planned activities.

This is against the understanding that it is in the main, a cricket arena.

But other sporting disciplines, local, regional and international, are staged there.

Why, then, is the President’s Suite plastered with cricket photos and that of no other sport?

Was it not at that same venue that the St Vincent and the Grenadines senior male football team began its journey as a regional football force back in 1979?

Haven’t others left impressionable marks on the venue with their football and track and field skills?

Similarly, the Victoria Park, which was once the main sporting venue — the Mecca of sports — is now the national cultural centre.

The layout of the main pavilions caters for the hosting of shows, rather than sporting events.

This, in the eyes of many, relegates sports to a distant cousin of the family.

Of course, sports must be put on hold whenever a “big show” comes to town, as money runs things.

As the debate continues, many also argue that the configuration and makeup of the National Sports Council’s management over the years is predominantly persons who have a cricket background.

Furthermore, the protocols displayed, such as the opening ceremonies of sporting venues, help to give credence to the perception of bias.

The opening of the Park Hill Playing Field last Sunday afternoon was a case in point.

Whilst a cricket match, the finals of the Super-40 competition, put on by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association, was the main event, the psychological effect was evident, as the local cricket boss Julian Jack was one of the main speakers.

Yes, cricket is the major sport played in that area of the island, but the facility was built to host cricket (inclusive of softball cricket), football and track and field.

With such choices, the precedent has already been set that cricket will be the centrality of focus and probably preference, thus filliping the divide.

The same has occurred before at other openings, leaving many to continue to resort to tongue lashing the authorities.

But are these perceptions real or are they just part of the whole drama which loads sports with intrigue and never a dull moment phenomenon?

Has this affected the psyche of persons who are engaged in other sports?

Are persons just decidedly trying to drive a wedge among the various sporting disciplines, which is nonexistent?

Take your pick!