On Target
February 13, 2015
School versus club/ team – whose choice?

The issue of school versus club/team continues to be one up for a debate.

Whilst not indigenous to St Vincent and the Grenadines, one has to fix what is before us first.

At home, it is generic, because of the structure or lack thereof of policies regarding representation at events where schools and clubs are permitted to trade their skills in a particular sporting discipline.{{more}}

Therefore, with this sort of arrangement, then the juggle for legitimacy sets in and the pros and cons are then weighed up.

This, though, mainly occurs with students who are more accomplished in the sport being played.

Some persons who witnessed last Saturday’s National Relay Classic at the Victoria Park, found it an anomaly that some athletes chose to represent their club team instead of their school.

Some questioned the loyalty of the athletes, while others blamed it on the schools.

The latter may have come out the winner, as the arrangements in most instances are not forceful, neither are they binding.

It appears that some of the schools’ managements are not hard and fast on their students making representation for the institution a priority.

In the absence of such, what we are seeing here is a manipulation of the situation, as a result of the nonchalance of the schools.

Many schools, either through oblivion or because of lack of interest, do not cover their bases by obtaining the necessary permission from parents for the children to represent the respective schools.

On the other hand, some schools have policies governing such practices and are hardly caught out.

It then stands to reason that if this is not done, maybe the students are on their own, hence would opt to contest for their alternative club teams.

For some schools, it is better to offload the students to the clubs, instead of having the moral, social and legal responsibilities for them when in competition, especially outside the stipulated school hours.

In some cases athletes have been known to opt not to participate at all, once presented with the choice of school or club team.

Once unchecked, ingrained issues then step in, as club coaches and management become the decision makers, oftentimes.

Our young sportsmen and women therefore must be handled with fragility, so as to prevent any sort of cultish mentality and subsequent manifestations through their actions.

Whilst not pronounced as yet, the scribbling is on the wall, that sports could be harbouring, promoting and the breeding ground for some traits which our already fragile society can ill afford.

This sort of fertilization could be the root cause why some of the charges of coaches are known to have openly expressed their desire not to be coached by certain coaches, even their school coaches at school events.

Solutions, though, have to be found as a people, especially among policy makers, as this could escalate to the wider society, where that sense of commitment to one’s fraternal base is eroded because of lax engagements or that ‘laissez-faire’ attitude gets locked into the scheme of operations.

Resetting the course, it is a widely held view that in some cases, especially age group competitions, only schools should be allowed to compete.

On the other hand, it is also true that in some of our educational institutions, there is little vibrancy in the sports programme.

This allows for some club teams to have more influence and control of the actions of their members, who sometimes are still of school age and possess dual representation.

Following on are the parents and guardians who often buy into club/team input, leaving the schools as last resort.

But critical to making the pathway clearer and more streamlined are the schools and parents who are the first guardians.

Schools have to equip themselves so that the parents can fully endorse their programmes, hence lessening the occasions for rifts.

Once established, the natural course of representation will take place.

It, therefore, must always be school first, club second; but the schools though, must not only earn the first taste status by right, but by their structured approach towards development.