On Target
October 4, 2013

Tennis – more than just a new president needed

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association was at last able to host its Annual General Meeting – more than two years overdue.{{more}}

There must have been a great sigh of relief last week Wednesday evening that there was at least a quorum and the elections could be staged, and a new executive voted in.

Enter Miles Boyea to take charge of the national tennis vessel, which had run aground, after most of the crew members had abandoned ship, leaving then president Anthony Mc Kenzie to hold on to the wheel and stay in the bridge.

Kudos must go to Mc Kenzie, who manfully stuck it out, despite the turbulence caused by the bellows in administration.

Mc Kenzie, for five years, steered the sometimes unchartered course with little or no navigational equipment available.

Faced with a deluge of financial woes, he was able to reduce the debts of the association through a mixture of debt forgiveness and debt servicing.

In fact, the $169,000 deficit he inherited, now stands at around $50,000.

Additionally, during Mc Kenzie’s tenure, St Vincent and the Grenadines was able to hold on to the ITF Under-14 and Under-18 Tournament, held during the month of August.

But it has not been plain sailing to keep the tournament afloat and in this country’s grasp.

And, there were some successes and progress; however, they were nothing to write or call home about.

In short, tennis at the national sphere, during that period, was like an orphaned child seeking maternal and paternal care, but none was forth- coming.

Amidst everything else, the ramblings, the fall- outs and the abandonment by those who have sucked the berries and moved on, the sport is, at this juncture, in dire need of a complete overhaul – a redo and possibly a makeover.

A lot has happened and a lot has not been done within the last few years in tennis in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

So, new president Miles Boyea’s job is more than just tennis, as one can sense an air of divisiveness – mistrust to some extent, and subtle calamity within the ranks of those who are involved in the sport.

Therefore, Boyea has a lot on his plate to contend with and fix, before we can see any progress in tennis here, both on the side of administration and on the courts.

Does Boyea have the acumen to hold his executive together so that each member plays his /her role and so that the show can get on the road? Will those who prompted him to take up the arduous task, and those who voted for him, now leave him to fend for himself in the wilderness, when despair sets in?

Not to question Boyea’s integrity, but were there other forces working behind the scenes, who sent him to take up the post? Whether he was sent, it was his calling, or he went, the most critical issue is that of inspiring the young players, corporate St Vincent and the Grenadines and other stakeholders in the local sporting configuration, to feel that tennis is being managed by a sound and capable team.

Attracting new sponsors, while regaining those who were friends of tennis, not for one-off contributions, but for sustained partnerships, should be paramount.

Also, Boyea and his team must again build the sport from the grassroots up to the adults and more mature enthusiasts who have a vested interest in tennis.

There is also the bug bear of the aging National Tennis Centre at Villa, which can do well with some sprucing up, as the wear and tear is constant.

The executive has to bite the bullet and ensure that those who are minting the venue for private use pay in more of their earnings towards the upkeep of the once spanking facility.

Finally, the newly installed executive should not believe that they possess the tool kit to fix tennis, but must draw on those persons who have tasted the valleys and mountain tops of the sport’s administration.

And, there is no shortage of personnel to call on. Among them are Orville Haslam, Michael Nanton, Anthony Boyea, Grant Connell and Anthony Mc Kenzie, who certainly will lend their guidance to the executive’s stewardship.