On Target
February 3, 2017
Scraping the bottom of the barrel

Last Saturday’s aborted elections of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Volleyball Association (SVGVA) is a clear indication that we are at our lowest ebb, and indeed scraping the bottom of the barrel in sports here.

It was almost unimaginable that such a situation would have arisen in the Vincentian sphere of sports, but indeed it did occur.

Honestly, one would have thought that there would have been enough contenders willing to put themselves in position to serve the sport, which can be regarded as one of the smaller disciplines.

More so, volleyball can be considered one of the easier sports to administer, as there are some systems already in place which ensure growth.

The acid test now stands for those who profess to love and care for volleyball to snuff it out of its administrative crisis.

Only time will tell what will be the next move, as elections are due within a few weeks, as attempts will again be made to install a grouping to steer the sport for the next four years.

Having said that though, the issues confronting volleyball are not confined to that discipline only, as others are just hanging on bare threads.

National associations, such as those for track and field, tennis and table tennis, are bleeding from within, as a bout of deficiency in commitment have hit them.

Hence, they are surviving on the strength of a few persons who are holding the fort.

But as it holds, we are going from one extreme to the other, as on one hand, some associations and community groupings are finding it difficult to maintain their operations; there are others where persons are treating national executives as part and parcel of their gift of inheritance.

So, either side of the fence, we are in a grave of uncertainty and scarcity of administrators.

This column has time after time expounded that St Vincent and the Grenadines has a leadership crisis all around and that sports has found itself locked away in the cocoon too.

No one can really thumb the reason or reasons for the steady down-turn in persons not giving freely of their expertise, time and energies to sports.

No longer is giving back to one’s community or the nation a matter of course and that inward desire for those who have themselves been beneficiaries of others who have pounded the pitches in the past.

Linked to this is that sports has got its touch of the trait of self, instead of selflessness, a far cry from what was the normal practice in times past.

Likewise, not even the filling of one’s resumé, loaded with notations of having served in different capacities on national associations, has taken on that significance that it had at one point.

Similarly, the opportunities for travel do not hold that pull effect to lure some persons to volunteer their service in recompense for such free rides.

Also, the perks of a monthly stipend offered to the servants of at least one national association have not lured quality personnel with the steel and integrity to watch over sports in this age of accountability.

There has been no shortage of training in leadership and other facets of administration with member national associations, as well as from the National Olympic Committee of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The lumped effect of all these factors is that across the board, the outcome is that we are left with a residue of a few persons who may have some good intentions, but are limited in competence and other organizational skills.

Inevitably, what suffers are the various sporting disciplines, as there are not quality administrators in position to effect the positive growth.

Then, knocking the athletes from the various sporting disciplines for the under-par results and commitment to sports is half of the cause, as before them lies patched up executives of dead weights and joy riders in some instances.

The good thing and saving grace of the whole affair which is steadily unfolding, is that there must be some actions in reverse, if not an about turn.

Importantly, several persons are cognizant that leadership and service to sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines need some serious attention.

What is the key, however, is that something decisive must be sought to redress the emerging and unchecked trend.

The question, though, remains: who should take the lead and take the initiative to encourage posterity for national associations?

Our present state of scraping the bottom of the barrel to search for competent and committed fillers of posts on national sporting executives should in the very near future history.

But the reality is that it is easier said than done.