On Target
December 13, 2013
Becoming potent forces in schools’ sports again

Over time, one has seen the relegation in status, of the St Vincent Grammar School and the Girls’ High School, in relation to the various sporting competitions held among secondary schools here.{{more}}

On the other hand, there has been the emergence of other schools which have become the ones to beat. One agrees that students exit the St Vincent Grammar School and the Girls’ High School at an earlier age, hence the other schools are at an advantage at the senior level.

But one is gathering that there is no longer that thirst and hunger for sporting achievements at these schools. What has gone wrong, wherein sports no longer provide bragging rights or hold a trump card for the schools?

Many reasons surely would be advanced, including the continuous battle for students’ interest, given the other forces and vices which are consuming their energies and focus. Whilst in every sphere things go in cycles, the waiting period is overdue for those schools to be once more competitive and potent sporting forces. This is not to say that those schools have patented dominance and ownership of titles, but their rich histories should spur the need to keep pride and performances at a level of national recognition and focus.

But what is hurtful, is that in some instances, the top male and female educational institutions are not present please in some sporting disciplines.

For the past two volleyball competitions, the St Vincent Grammar School was absent. The Girls’ High School has had a stop-start relationship with netball in recent times. Netball is a discipline in which they once bore titan status and forged epic battles with the Bishop’s College Kingstown; battles which were the must see and the highlight of the schools’ competition. Today, the Girls’ High School at

netball is participatory rather than impacting. Such has been the relegation of the sport on the school’s agenda, that it no longer participates in the national club competition.

It is true that there must be measured approaches engaged in participation in the various schools’ competitions, while at the same time, it must be acknowledged that there are more demands on the various stakeholders, as there are more sporting disciplines than there were in the past.

But both schools, which are the focal points, have over the years topped the academics, while still being potent forces in sports – then, what are the real issues which are preventing them from reliving such heights or maintaining that cutting edge competitiveness?

Some may say that many of the students are entering these institutions with a limited foundation, as there is little emphasis on competitive sports at the primary schools, except for track and field.

Therefore, despite the lack of fully functional alumni associations, surely the results in the recent past and the general downturn in sports and positive results at both institutions should be irking some of the past students who have blazed the trail and those who hold an interest in the well-being of their former schools.

Many surely cock their ears and open their eyes to hear and see what their alma maters are doing whenever secondary schools’ competitions are taking place.

Like any other educational institution, the personnel available to dispense the knowledge of the various disciplines are limited and that is acceptable. This may then lead to the need for the headships of both schools to look outwards for technical assistance in the areas in which their competencies are deficient. But will the respective coaches and physical education teachers at the schools see this as an erosion of their ego?

Other than that, this column is certain that some of the “old boys” and “old girls” will be willing to assist in this regard.

What is most critical is that both schools need to become potent forces in sports once more.

But, whilst the focus is on the two schools in particular, this should be the concern of all stakeholders in the other schools, which would ensure that those who are presently ruling the stage, keep their positions intact for as long as they possibly can.