On Target
August 30, 2019
Reading the play

The chain of events that unfolded which eventually led to the St Vincent and the Grenadines senior men’s volleyball team not being able to attend the NORCECA inter- continental championships in Winnipeg, Canada, brings to the fore the new order in sports.

After qualifying for the championships, by virtue of winning the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) tournament last October in Grenada.

But as time drew near for the prerequisites of securing visas for the players to travel to Canada, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Volleyball Association (SVGVA) was left a stranded passenger, as there were shifts in operations, of which the local association was ignorant.

Blame though, cannot, and should not, be laid at the feet of the SVGVA’s executive, as from all reports, its efforts in getting the team to the championships, were in keeping with what had been the protocols followed in the past.

Neither must it be said nor alleged that there were sinister moves and concoctions by any grouping or anyone, to deliberately exclude St Vincent and the Grenadines from the inter- continental championships.

What is instructive is that the conditions which the SVGVA was not able to fulfil for the team’s travel and the time frame given by NORCECA, can only serve now as the template of operations going forward.

St Vincent and the Grenadines’ predicament can now be used as the blueprint for future qualifiers, as it seems winning the ECVA leg is just one requirement.

It is almost a certainty that with all things being equal, and once the goal posts are not shifted and the structures are not revamped, that St Vincent and the Grenadines will be in line for another visit to the inter-continental championships.

But in the interim, those involved in the sport of volleyball should begin to factor in what took place leading up to what eventual caused the team to be ditched.

Sports is changing, the dynamics of administration of sports is also going through a constant metamorphosis, hence, countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines can easily be side-lined if we do not up the ante of performance both on and off the field of play.

The door is closing on several sports, as the larger nations with better economies of scale, can just swallow St Vincent and the Grenadines whole as a one course meal.

Whilst St Vincent and the Grenadines men’s senior team, at present, is arguably the beacon among the other ECVA grouping, the reality is, administrators have to be observant and mindful of the structures that are being erected.

For example, funding, the procurement of equipment and the likes have begun to dribble.

Therefore, countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines, which has been heavily dependent on those resources can find itself becoming totally hand to mouth.

But more than that, the SVGVA has to start looking at the possibilities of being left out in the cold and out of the loop.

The reality is, as well, that the bigger volleyball countries, those with history and greater pedigree are the shot callers.

Hence, the SVGVA has to begin to lean towards getting proficient in beach volleyball. This may be so on several fronts.

Among them, is the apparent slowdown in funding, hence sending out teams for court volleyball tournaments will become more challenging.

In addition, with the absence of a proper court facility for the players to hone their skills, can be frustrating and can see a falloff in persons gravitating to the sport.

On the contrary, beach volleyball is less expensive and a facility to play that format promotes innovations, as St Vincent and the Grenadines has a few beaches which can be used as venues.

Unfortunately, it is ironic that local volleyball administrators may have to look that way, as St Vincent and the Grenadines has, in recent times, at least in the ECVA jurisdiction, made a name.

Understanding the state of play in sports and the projected pathways being plotted, is what should guide the policy frame work for all administrators in the various disciplines.