Slow return to  sports’ normalcy
On Target
June 5, 2020

Slow return to sports’ normalcy

St Vincent and the Grenadines, after over two months of being starved of competitive sporting activities, is picking up the pieces, and slowly moving back to some semblance of normalcy.

This, after most sporting competitions, tournaments, both at the community and the national levels, were halted in mid March, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the coronavirus (covid-19), a pandemic.

The gradual resumption of sporting activities has resulted in the SVG Cycling Union, over the past two weeks, hosted time trials, with another penciled in for this Sunday.

Also, the SVG Squash Association went the route of restarting its junior training programme, earlier this week, but with some safety measures in place.

But taking the limelight was the staging of the Vincy Premier League (VPL), an undertaking of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association Inc.

The T/10 cricket tournament was held for ten days at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

From all reports, the VPL was a resounding success.

Undoubtedly, the VPL would have left somewhat of a blueprint of what can happen if the necessary health protocols are followed, granted the fact that covid- 19, remains a pandemic.

So here we are the crosswalk in sports, as we cannot be stymied indefinitely, and the show of sports must go on.

The tone has been set by cycling, squash and cricket, for other sporting disciplines to follow, especially those which involve little contact.

Certainly, the likes of volleyball, swimming, track and field, table tennis and tennis, can begin to fashion (if they have not already started), the recommencement of their programmes.

The biggest challenge, unfortunately, would come from football, netball, basketball and rugby, as its very nature would not be in compliance of social and physical distancing, as prescriptions to lessen the spread of the virus.

In saying so, surely whilst not dismissing the presence, threats and consequences of the virus, because St Vincent and the Grenadines has had a relatively low number of infections(albeit mild cases), similarly, most have recovered, and significantly no recorded deaths, those contact sports should be working to get a move on.

It however, it is more than a return to sports, as there is need for that social valve to once more be activated.

Our sportsmen and women, like most of the population, have endured almost three months of resignation of practically being indoors, where they are well rested, recharged and refreshed.

Many of the active sports people though, if the lay off becomes too protracted, can lose interest in their respective sporting endeavours and fear is they may wander too far, to the point of no return.

Not to be left out are the followers of sports, who too can become disinterested.

Also feeling the pinch would be the match officials , who obviously would get rusty, having not practised their craft for sometime.

These officials as well, would have lost some income as the stipend which they would have gained from the umpiring, refereeing, scoring and other duties, have been absent from their pockets.

It will not be as easy as kiss hand, as any decision that throws the nation’s health at risk, would be counter productive, to the good intention of having sports going again.

The national associations of those sporting disciplines can liaise with the health officials here to have a random sample of our footballers, netballers, rugby players and basketballers tested, to put the minds at ease.

Ultimately, with the objective to have competitions restarting, and our sportsmen and women getting that much needed physical engagements.

One would though first have to respond to the question of the cost of such a venture.

Balancing the circumstances and weighing it all up, as a nation we have to pay a higher cost for the mental degradation, if our young men and women, whose only lifeline is sports.

Some of the things that are unfolding among our young sportsmen especially, have to be noted as occurrences that need attention.

The various national sporting associations, in conjunction with the national covid-19 taskforce, should be at the table of reasoning, and chart the way forward for the return of sporting activities, competitions and tournaments ( officially), here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.