On Target
November 28, 2014
Short-changing the youths

Every time the youths of this nation foul up in any form, especially in matters pertaining to their social being, invariably, the blame is thrown squarely on the offenders.

The same is often said when they err in sports, whether they drop out after showing great potential or they simply do not put in the effort required.{{more}}

But can the same be said in relation to the recent hosting of the Primary and Secondary Schools Netball and Football festivals and tournaments?

In fact, one can say, without contradiction, that they have continued to be short-changed.

Yes, the competitions went off; there were winners, there were losers, there were some standout individuals and there were presentation ceremonies.

However, was enough done that could give youths that hope, that opening, that their efforts are beyond mere showing up and ensure that the matches are completed?

Obviously not, as very little was done to put them in the spotlight.

And, with the varied forms of the media available to us in this modern era, the level of promotions given to these competitions was shameful.

Despite this, thanks should be given to those persons in the media who were on the ball. The nation would have been robbed of any publicity of these youngsters without them.

This, however, could only have been achieved by sheer tenacity and will to navigate and practically extract the information from different sources.

Thanks to the first vice-president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association and chair of the netball sub-committee Natasha Stapleton, who provided regular updates on the netball competitions.

The organizers, in their wisdom, failed to provide such information at the finger tips, as the configuration of the system makes it even more cumbersome.

Blame then must fall in the lap of the Ministry of Education, as they failed miserably in adding any hype and meaning to the finals, which, incidentally, also featured the primary schools’ showdown of their revived competition.

Even the ardent supporters of football, knew little of last week Thursday’s finals at the Victoria Park. Similar was the Arnos Vale Netball exposé on Friday, as there was no hype afforded to the events.

With the loudest applause of displeasure, this sort of disregard for the two sporting disciplines and more so the young sportsmen and women must be made public.

What then is the function of the Education Media Unit? Does one still exist? Or is that unit only functional for a lone sporting activity put on by the Ministry of Education?

Is it that football, netball, cricket, volleyball and basketball are meaningless events to the Ministry of Education and those who are charged with the responsibility of administrating these sports?

Or is a case wherein the various sub-committees cannot or do not understand their roles and responsibilities?

In all that is heading in the wrong direction, is this a further case to put back the running of school sports in the hands of the Ministry of Sports?

Leading up to last Thursday’s and Friday’s triple finals, there were no features of the schools in the title matches, no promos and the like.

The same, however, does not hold true with track and field in the case of the Inter Secondary Schools championships.

Yes, it is the marquee event on the schools’ sporting calendar, but it stands out in almost every aspect.

Every ounce of energy, near detailed planning, amongst other trappings, are put in place to have this undertaking “big up.”

Is it that the Schools Games Committee is only fully activated during the months of January to April each year?

Despite the varying appeal and public acceptance of the different competitions which come under the ambit of the Schools Games Committee, some sort of equality must be shown across the board.

Notwithstanding the fact that the track and field championships get more funding than the other disciplines, some significance must be attached to what is perceived to be the less “attractive” components.

The youngsters need to feel such appreciation by ensuring that they get their features, their moments of highlights and their respective stages.

Give to the youths what they deserve, and stop devaluing their input and contribution to schools’ sports and, by extension, the national development of St Vincent and the Grenadines.