On Target
March 6, 2015
Of scruples and our integrity in sports

We are lowering our levels of scruples, fair play and most of all our integrity when called upon to be honest and unbiased in matters of sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

It can be concluded that we are not only scraping the bottom of the barrel, but have lifted it above our heads searching for the non-existent bottom.

The latest low blow that has been ventilated was the eventual disqualification of the Union Island Secondary School from the schools’ Basketball competition for fielding an ineligible player.

This, after the school had reached the finals and placed second to the George Stephens Secondary.

Confirmed reports are that the institution fielded a player — a former student, but one who is on the Youth Empowerment Service and attached to the school.

It is more than having to unceremoniously return the trophy and medals originally presented; it is more than just the usual nine days talk — forgotten but listed in the history of sporting transgressions.

How shameful it is for the name of the school and more so its hierarchy, to be dragged into such dishonesty and dishonour?

As the movers and shakers of the nation and the character builders, every effort must be engaged to ensure these roles are advanced with seamless modelling of the correct behaviour as much as we humanly can.

Such unfair and unethical conduct is fast becoming common place in our school system as persons just want to get ahead either by hook or by crook.

Some schools have been known to accommodate students who are otherwise irregular attendants, but are afforded the opportunity to represent the institutions whenever the sporting competition in which they are best comes around.

Rooted in many of the schools’ inter house track and field meets, the unscrupulous happenings sometimes sneak into the wider national competitions.

At last year’s schools’ Netball tournament, one school was found guilty of knowingly registering over aged players for the Junior Division.

Whilst the buck falls on the schools’ top management, it is often the case that the Physical Education teacher has carte blanche autonomy when it comes to matters such as sports which are often times outside their realms of competence and interest.

While the Ministry of Education was quick to swoop down and act against the Union Island Secondary School, it must also guard itself from its own administrative faux pax.

The ministry must ensure that all of its selectees have not dropped out of their school before the academic year is complete.

But this doesn’t happen only the school system, but on the wider national sporting arena.

Sometime last year, this column had reason to ventilate on the issue of eligibility/ineligibility of players in the National Inter Community League Under-13 Football championships, where over-aged players were allowed to compete.

Unfortunately, this was permitted to continue in the final on the insistence of head man of Football here — President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation — Venold Coombs.

Sports, in all its forms help not only with the physical development of those who engaged in the various disciplines, but are avenues for character building and other facets of the human being.

Coaches, trainers, school principals, teachers, executive members of national sporting associations and others directly or indirectly involved must play a part in engendering and promoting fair play in sports.

Tricks, schemes and other “scampish” ways of beating or ducking the system are real and in some cases the trade of some people’s schemata, hence, cannot be totally wiped out.

But what we need though are persons who would stand firm on the solid ground of principle.