On Target
June 1, 2018
Sports versus ‘culture’

Sports is indeed a culture of many people and nations across the globe.

Whilst St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) does not have a sports culture per se, there is however some semblance of passion and commitment among some for sports.

However, those with that fervour for sports continue to dwindle to almost a trickle.

Generally, there seems to be a disinterest in sports, with no single reason that can be identified as the main cause, but varied factors, depending on the sporting discipline in question.

This emergence in a less than positive attitude in sports is being compounded by the gravitational pull towards frolicking and other “cultural” activities.

At present, SVG is in set mode for its premier national cultural festival – Vincy Mas.

As a set-off, various rural areas are warming the main course, which takes place later this month into early July.

Hence, many of the young sportsmen and women, as well as those who are mature in age, undoubtedly get involved and are active participants.

Apart, there has been, from time immemorial, the sitting of external examinations at this time of year.

This is hurting some of the current national competitions.

The FLOW National Netball Club Tournament has been hardest hit, with a list of defaulted matches being accrued in the last three weeks.

This does not exclude those matches in which there have been the minimal number of five players necessary to facilitate a contest, and the regular forfeitures.

One of the reasons given is that some netballers prefer to be part of the rural carnival activities than to attend their teams’ matches.

Impacting too, is that many of these sports people are heavily involved in mas making and practicing for national panorama competitions.

But above those, there is a culture of disinterest in sports creeping in, and sportspersons are losing that deep sense of commitment in the respective competitions, to stay the course.

The trend, unfortunately, is not restricted to one sporting discipline, but cuts across the board.

It is clear, therefore, that people are not prepared to participate fully in competitions beyond two months, hence a middle ground has to be found.

Within the past decade there has been a general downturn in participation whenever Carnival and Christmas are nearing.

Whilst the purists may differ, this type of mindset is inextricably bound to the current psychological matrices of the younger generations.

The reality is that their “stick-ability” is not as glued as generations before, who were not exposed to the many trappings and happenings of present day world.

Too, in today’s world, short cuts and abbreviated forms of the many sporting disciplines are what are trending.

Therefore, it is now incumbent on those national associations which have competitions around this time of year to pay careful attention to their duration, as the present mode is not selling well in the public’s eyes.

Whilst the issue of availability of venues is a major consideration, some repair actions and decisions may have to be taken.

Among them has to be a reduction in participating teams, so as to make the competitions shorter. Also, tighter scheduling of matches could be another option.

Most importantly, organizers should ensure that their competitions do not run over into the hectic Carnival season, as we are seeing it is the former that suffers.

We have to be realistic in the circumstances, as sports is not helped, granted we are still operating as amateurs.

And, even in cases of semi-professional and professional structures, a country’s culture is always factored in the planning mechanisms.

In concluding, it must be understood that this is not an advocate for half measures, but an analysis of what is current, but not serving its rightful purpose.