On Target
January 31, 2014

For better or for worse?

The more things change, they sometimes do not only remain the same, but often get worse.This cuts across many sectors, with sports not exempted.St Vincent and the Grenadines has found itself going with the flow and has embraced several changes.{{more}}

But have these changes been for the better?

One would readily agree, that before we had so many portfolios and divisions of tasks, sports on the whole was better administered, hence the outlook all-round was more optimistic.

Then, they were not certified, they had no formal training, but attended the university of hard work and commitment.

This is not to say that granted the changing demands of sports, one should not move in the direction of professionalization in terms of certification.

So, unlike days of the past, today we have personnel assigned to various sectors of our sporting set-up, including those at the governmental level.

Such arrangements, while well -intended are derailing the operations of schools’ sports, which should be the bed-rock of future endeavours and attainment of excellence.

The current configuration to chart sports in our school system shows the various national associations, the Ministry of Education and the Division of Physical Education and Sports within the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, all having a hand in the proceedings.

But is must be a misnomer when one hears the term, “ Director of Physical Education and Sports” as readily one expects the holder of that post to be the one who should chart the course of both programmes , here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. That anomaly and others of a similar nature have been allowed to go almost unnoticed over the years.

So, while we are not seeing or hearing the many dog fights mainly because of clashes of personality and battle for turf, something is still not meshing within the walls of the decision makers.

The set- up has the schools’ games committee sanctioning the activities, the Division of Physical Education providing the technical assistance and the national associations being left with the responsibility to chair the various sporting disciplines.

This recipe does not give a definitive authority to any one entity.

None of the three entities have the capacity to carry through the various activities which in recent times have immersed the three terms of the schools’ sporting calendar.

Therefore, where there are fifteen schools all on one day assigned a track and field activity, this shows up the weakness in the arrangements.

This, too, comes back to that lack of human touch, caused perhaps by the many nomenclatures that have been bestowed on persons.

Now in the technological age, the distance between the authorities is stretched , with little or no interfacing, driving that wedge and causing the disconnect.

Such operations become more remote despite the presence of a media unit within the Ministry of Education.

This unit has not really served the purpose of ensuring that the various sporting disciplines and their competitions get the necessary play, hence promoting what is actually taking place.

The unit gets vocal mainly during the lead up to the annual inter- secondary schools track and field championships. This is mainly through the conduit of the social network Facebook. What happens during the rest of the year?

So, schools sports among the nation’s schools, simply become activities of a recurring decimal; they are planned, held and there is a presentation and closing ceremony at the completion of the various competitions.

Next, the “best” players are selected to represent St Vincent and the Grenadines at the yearly Windward Islands Schools’ Games or for the Caribbean Union of Teachers Track and Field Championships. Or, some will be cited for other regional track and field events, or become prospective candidates for national teams. Matter fixed, case close!

This column therefore concludes that most who hold key roles in sports, simply bask in the positions, and are consumed with their statuses, the perks and the likes, while the core of their mandate, which is to improve performances all round goes a begging.

What is needed is one entity or a more cohesive operation to dictate what takes places in our schools as it relates to sports, as the present system is chaotic, counter- productive and meaningless.