On Target
April 15, 2016
Getting in line

Something has to give one way or the other when it comes to the administration of school sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Whilst sports are dynamic and forever evolving, there has to be some established protocols which should guide and reinforce at each event which falls within the schools’ framework.{{more}}

Regrettably, there are some incongruities, inconsistencies and anomalies that exist within the set-up of some of the disciplines.

And, with all competitions under the aegis of the Ministry of Education, it therefore dictates that there should be some template in place to ensure good governance.

Therefore, the near explosive situation which almost unfolded two weeks ago at the Park Hill Playing Field in the Massy United Insurance Under-21 cricket finals, clearly shows that checks and parameters should guide future undertakings.

The facts would show that the organizers would have erred, first of all by allowing the free-for-all, whereby alcoholic beverages was a plentiful commodity, and as the day wore on, the wits of those who were the partakers, were leaving their bodies.

More so, shouldn’t the no-bottle policy have been enforced on that day at the said facility?

In this case, the organizers traded a festive atmosphere and a large crowd for stricter control of the day’s happenings.

Whilst not intending to stifle creativity and innovations, there are some basic statues and precautions which should have been in place, granted it was deemed “a school event”.

After what transpired at Park Hill recently, certainly the jury is out as to what punitive measures should be meted out to those who were conspicuous in bringing the final into disrepute.

But in the same breath, the Ministry of Education too, should look themselves in the mirror and ask where did we go wrong and how much did we contribute to the melée.

It is this same type of laid-back attitude which the same ministry has adopted over the years and has led to the annual inter-secondary schools’ athletics championships to degenerate into an occasion where the trends of the day dictate the proceedings.

The Ministry of Education in its wisdom to put the commercialization of the event at the expense of enhancing the sport, can partly take the blame for what is excused as a “school event”, as hardly any parameters are visible to suggest that it is such.

The attempt by many to have our inter-secondary schools athletics championships emerge with the same interest as occurs in Jamaica, is working adversely to the product itself, as the sub-cultures have taken over the event.

Maybe, either the Grenada or Barbados models would be the better choice.

Another reconsideration in the scheme of things is that of the stretch of the limit for participation to Under- 21.

The current education system provides for such students to be in school even at that age, hence they should not be deprived from exhibiting their sporting talents.

Clearly, though, such a regulation only satisfies the staging of eligibility to the annual Windward Islands schools’ games.

What purpose does this serve the national good, when players who excel in these competitions are still not eligible to represent St Vincent and the Grenadines at Carifta, in the case of track and field, or the Windwards Under-19 cricket competition?

Some schools, whose students invariably leave their institutions at age 16 or 17, save and except for track and field, cannot compete with those who are permitted to remain in their places of learning, having already attained the age of 20.

Whilst there is not always a direct co-relation between age and ability, it could be then reasoned why the football, cricket and basketball titles, in recent times, can be assured to go to some institutions.

A similar unfair advantage unfolded at the inter-primary schools’ athletics championships as well, with some schools with athletes whose maturation through their chronological ages proved decisive and critical in some of the events.

A fairer solution must be found almost immediately, which should be both commensurate with participation and keeping intact that competitive spirit in tandem.

Getting in line with a system and blueprint of execution which ensures the development of the young sportsmen and sportswomen is essential, which in turn will keep the cycle of continuity going.

Or do we want to forever revel in the harum-scarum operations which have become second nature?