On Target
March 4, 2016
Tennis’ unforced errors

It must be a mountain of regret, that which is the state of play with the sport of tennis in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

For the better part of five years, tennis, which was once the envy of others for its stability, administrative competence and successes on the courts, has degenerated into a wash pot of ridicule.{{more}}

Like a stone down a hill, everything seems to have fallen apart and the fortunes of tennis are heading in the opposite direction.

An almost slow down in the procuring of tennis scholarships, mainly to US colleges; a drought of junior competitions; senior tournaments spoken of in the past tense; while many persons simply want to disassociate themselves from the sport.

It is particularly sad, because this measured demise has come even though, unlike other sports, tennis has a place called “home”.

At present, there is a skeleton of persons sitting on the executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association.

But the current situation has festered for many years, as Anthony Mc Kenzie singlehandedly held the wheel amidst the storm for about three years.

This period of turbulence included a millstone of debts, which strangled the little breath which was left in the association.

The records show that Miles Boyea took the reins in April 2014, along with a full slate of members, who promised to restore tennis and rekindle its interest and credibility.

However, one by one, two by two, inclusive of Boyea, they resigned or just became non-functional.

Brave was he, James Bascombe, who, elected second to Boyea, held on, assumed the presidency and attempted to lead the rescue and restoration mission.

Among Bascombe’s efforts was the successful wooing of central government to expend thousands of dollars on the much needed sprucing up of the showpiece venue, the National Tennis Centre at Villa.

This saved the day in maintaining St Vincent and the Grenadines’ hold on the annual ITF Junior tournament, which is a fixture during the month of August and attracts participation from more than 20 countries across the globe.

Despite Bascombe’s efforts and tenacity, there has been a dark shadow cast over his oversight of the refurbishment of the courts at the centre.

And it comes of the age old concern for accountability, as inquired into by two sets of individuals, regarding the funds used for the project, which was carried out by Sydney Lopez of Barbados.

Unfortunately, the inner business of seeking answers into the spending by Bascombe and his remaining elected personnel of the SVGTA has spilled to the public at large.

But, are the inquiries of Bascombe simply facetious, or are they a question on his integrity?

Hopefully it is not the latter, as it indeed would put another mix to an already ailing sport, which has little corporate alignment, as its decline is known by all and sundry.

Wallowing in the pains of the association is not what is best for the cadre of budding tennis players and those supportive parents, who all want to see a move upwards.

So, the stage is set for the March 19 general meeting, which, according to a release, has as the single agenda item, the election of a new executive.

This, though, could be another recipe for fuelling the already charged concerns about the association’s revenue and expenditure over the past two years.

The first interpretation is that the outgoing executive cares less about their financial stewardship during their tenure.

Also it can be read as a total disregard for the requests of the concerned persons or is it that the remaining executive simply want out of the misery of the association, and will traverse the easiest route to get fresh faces in.

Whatever the reason for such course of action, it cannot be the best way to relieve the tensions which have accrued.

Going forward though, the local stakeholders of tennis need to flush themselves of the toxins which have divided the association over the years.

Maybe, looking beyond those directly involved in the sport and incorporating those who are divorced from the happenings is the correct pathway to travel in reshaping the twisted and tangled SVGTA.