On Target
March 24, 2017
Playing field too uneven

It is widely accepted that the track and field championships at both the primary and secondary levels are the marquee events on the schools’ sporting calendar.

Yes, one also embraces the need to have a highlight calendar event, and something to zenith the schools’ sporting programmes.

Whilst this is so, the disparity in emphasis is somewhat too glaring.

Officials of the Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation and Ecclesiastical of Affairs have boxed themselves into a corner of bias towards the track and field championships.

There was a media launch; there were caravans, mascots, radio programmes, along with other promotional outlets.

Then, there is the usual hype among the government officials, who expend all energies on the two-day championships and are hands on with the planning, as well as the executions.

These same officials are invisible when the other sporting disciplines have their competitions.

Furthermore, it is a perfect example of putting all the eggs in one basket.

But does it go beyond that, as the two days of the athletics championships are the calculated period for the Ministry to make a financial intake?

Given that students are required to pay more for entry into the Arnos Vale arena, once not clad in their respective school uniforms, gives the impression that the athletics is secondary.

Conversely, whilst the Ministry exhibits that biased focus, they have themselves shown internal preference for the secondary bracket of the championships.

A case in point was last Wednesday, while the inter-primary championships were being hosted, schools were still expected to operate normally.

It has to be a case again of colossal shortsight to acknowledge that this is an anomaly that needs to be fixed.

A major sporting event is taking place among schools and students and staff are still required to be in class.

How can one expect the maximum possible following from the schools, irrespective if they are actively taking part in the championships?

But this was not the case yesterday, Thursday, when the secondary schools showcased their athletics skills, as it was a full day off from classes for these institutions.

Taking the situation deeper though, the actions of those in authority simple relegate the other competitions to second class activities.

Hence, the other sporting disciplines are left yearning for a modicum of attention as expended on the two-day track and field championships.

Persons who follow school sports will know of the scant focus that the other disciplines receive.

It is common knowledge that other sporting competitions under the ambit of the Ministry of Education have endured loose arrangements, such that many things are left to work themselves out within the passage of time.

But is it that the sub-committee for track and field demands more of the Ministry officials, hence they have to toe the line and conform to what is laid down for execution of the championships?

Are the other disciplines’ sub-committees, which are headed by the various national associations, ready to lift their game and begin to position themselves to lead off in a similar fashion as track and field has?

Or are they satisfied that better cannot be done, as many systems are already rooted and will be almost impossible to excavate?

If, then, there is a need for change, who shall be the initiator of such a movement that will see some semblance of levelling of the playing surface among all sporting competitions involving educational institutions here in St Vincent and the Grenadines?