ST VINCENT AND the Grenadines, like the rest of the world, has for more than a year been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic had placed a gaping hole in sports here, but which were filled slowly during the last six months of 2020.
We were at a good place, with hope alive that some level of normalcy for sports would have taken place in 2021. But a spike in coronavirus cases in December left us with renewed uncertainty.
Hope abounded, as the reported infection rate dropped and the roll out of the vaccines provided the added assurance that we were about to finally see the end of the proverbial tunnel.
However, reality struck us all when the threats of the La Soufriere volcanoes came to light last Friday with the first of several explosive eruptions.
Whilst Vincentians were always bracing for an explosive eruption, there was that tinge of aspiration it would have tarried and stay in the effusive state.
Hence, we are in a double whammy situation, with everything is at a standstill, as the next moves in sports are contingent on the pace at which the volcano reduces it violent activities. At the other end, concern is pregnant that with the displacement of persons from the north western and north eastern ends of the mainland and the converging in the other areas, there lies the strong possibility that the coronavirus can see an increase in cases.
As it stands now with Vincentian sports is in a quandary, as competitions are almost impossible in the foreseeable future. This as venues are occupied in some instances as emergency shelters for persons who were forced to leave their fixed places of abode. But most significantly, the mood of the country is more on seeing us through our current crises.
So, whilst other countries in the region are moving on with their sports programmes, have come to another extended halt.
It means therefore that Hope International will more than likely be unable to fill their commitment to the CONCACAF Caribbean Club Shield, despite that tournament being deferred because of a rise in coronavirus cases in the host country, Curacao.
Likewise, the senior national men’s football team’s preparations for their World Cup qualifying matches in June and their trip to Miami in July for the CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifiers, would certainly be affected.
Locally, thoughts were optimistic for a possible recommencement of the National Club Championships, which were suspended in December.
Also, on the list are this country’s track and field athletes, who had recently resumed training and had competitions,
with the Junior Carifta Games in Bermuda in August and the NACAC age group championships set for June in Nicaragua, on their radar.
Swimmers were back in the pool and in competition, with table tennis and tennis as well having a serve off with their respective competitions and continued training regiments.
Similarly, our cricketers were getting in gear for some form of competition in the upcoming months, while cycling was at the starter’s point to pedal off again.
Other sporting disciplines, netball and volleyball, along with the newly formed road tennis committee, were in a mood of readiness for increased activities.
All, though, came crashing down last Friday, with powerful reminder of the potential dangers which the La Soufriere volcano has stored in it.
Our condition has not been experienced by most of our active sportsmen and women, as the long lay-offs are novel to them. More so, they, like most of St Vincent and the Grenadines, those who are involved in sports at all levels, never envisaged this type of pause in activities.
It may seem that we are at our worst, but we have to cushion the blows and falls effected by the disruptions in sports and life in general, as the volcano continues to spew its intestinal contents.
As fate would have it, the bulk of the country’s volleyballers are from the red and orange zones of the country. Too, several national footballers and cricketer also reside in the said zones.
Whilst we cannot dictate what happens with the volcano, save and except rely on divine intervention, some control of the internal variables can be pursued.
The provision of material support is insufficient for those sportsmen and women who have been repositioned geographically.
Most needed are activities that would help in stabilising the mental being of these persons. Hopefully, all national associations and clubs would put in place systems to help the psycho- social state of their constituents.
Getting over the many hurdles which St Vincent and the Grenadines has been asked to negotiate is synonymous with sports, hence the applications of these principles are welcomed, as our resilient nature becomes activated and takes root.