Ironies of verbal sporting thrash
On Target
March 6, 2020

Ironies of verbal sporting thrash

TIME AFTER TIME, persons in positions of decision, would glowingly speak of sports as if their heart and soul are in it.

They would often pronounce that sports is central to national development, among other fanciful sayings, simply playing and chattering to the gallery.

As it is, the outcomes of their spewing of that rhetoric, are at variance with their actions thereafter.

But we have become so accustomed to their verbal thrash, it is treated with almost total oblivion.

However, as they talk and talk, sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to be placed on the back burner.

Beginning with the school system, sports is what it is – “games” – and not necessarily sports.

The shapers of national policy say it with confidence and lack of shame, that at the primary school stage, there are no physical education teachers assigned.

But the irony comes to the fore, as the said Ministry of Education et al, insists that “Physical Education”, be placed on the various Grades’ time table (lie table).

These same officials also take the fame when a student or students excel in sports at the primary level; boast of the policies and programmes they have shaped.

On the other hand, it would be those same persons who would speak from the other side of their mouths and lament on the growing obesity issues among students within the primary school system.

Too, at every forum, there would be critical analyses of the need to get our primary school students exposed to more structured training and coaching in the various sporting disciplines at an earlier age.

It would then become mind-boggling that those who expose those concerns would do little to change the status quo for the betterment of the nation.

Compounding their ironies, would be the non-engagement of several students who would have excelled in physical education at the tertiary level, namely at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), are not utilised and provide some of their expertise gained through their studies, at the lower strands of the school system.

Contrary to the best practices in development, those who have gained first degrees in physical education are placed in the secondary.

This is proving to slow the process of development, as without that structured foundation these students would have it difficult to adopt to the instructions presented to them, at an age where their personal nuances become critical factors.

Conversely, the physical education teachers would have to redouble their efforts to refashion students’ acceptance of the many disciplines that are now being taught, using a structured module.

And, where this occurs, the one trained physical education teacher, is expected to teach sports specifics within the entire school.

This often results in some schools being deficient in some sporting disciplines, because they are not exposed to the prerequisite training of techniques.

But the schools are left in a quandary, as often times the ministry would seek to correct this lack of expertise, by offering someone who may just be playing the sport and not necessarily trained personnel.

Therefore, instead of making use of the many certified coaches, they rely on a stop gap approach, simply as a cosmetic administrative ploy, to suggest that something is being done in the nation’s schools, as it relates to the development of sports.

In the same vein, the officials who are charged with the organisational duties of sports in the secondary schools, seem not to be able to be getting it right.

So here we are in the second term, with another packed programme of competitions and tournaments.

Hence, there is the Under- 15 cricket, volleyball, basketball and most of the schools have had their track and field championships, also during this set period on the schools’ calendar.

The packed third term is followed by an almost empty third term, save and except the Under-19 cricket tournament.

By accident though, because of the proposed hosting of a football match here on March 31, the inter-primary and secondary schools athletics championships, would take place during the first week of the third term.

But the more forums like this vent, nothing seems to be giving, as most people are satisfied to take the half measures, when the full quota is there for us on a platter, only if we have the will to see sports and physical education, as more than just fillings of our students’ school tenure.