The other side of the coin
On Target
May 13, 2022
The other side of the coin

Many Vincentians get excited whenever our young student- athletes get an opportunity to go overseas on scholarships, whether it be partial scholarships or full.

And, rightly so, as many see embarking on their sporting and academic pursuits are better served by jetting off to a foreign country, namely the United States of America.

Let the truth be told, little exists to keep the budding sportsmen and women here in St Vincent and the Grenadines grounded in sports, save and except their personal desires and ambitions.

Furthermore, there is that resonated notion of many Vincentians in all walks of life, that the pastures are always greener on the other side.

But as we focus on sports in this exposition, we should be made aware that many of our young sportsmen and women, whilst they may be reasonably talented at their respective disciplines, their academic abilities are not always commensurate.

So, when opportunities come their way, there are always hidden obstacles behind the curtains, the untold stories , the many challenges that beset Vincentians as they try to realise their dreams.

It is factual that many are unable to cope with the heavy and demanding workload, the change in culture, climate, expectations of parents and others, and the list can go on and on.

The glitter and the glamour sometimes quickly shift to heartache, being homesick, depressed, and burdened by other psycho- social setbacks.

Do we know that many of our student -athletes are meted out with abuse of various kinds?

Are we aware that they are used as the guinea pigs, the donkeys, who are required to compete day in day out, while native student- athletes are protected and preserved for special events?

Some are resilient enough to tough it out or be fortunate to stay the course and eventually attain their degrees and make it in life generally.
That bunch invariably keep faith in the “ half a loaf is better than none” phenomenon.

On the other hand , several of them have returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines, unable to fulfil and complete their ambitions due to debilitating circumstances.

This column in no way is laying blame on the overseas systems, as our student- athletes at times are at fault for their own undoing.

However, many of our student- athletes were not prepped for these anticipated pitfalls and often believe it would be a honkey dory experience, littered with the bright lights and leisurely golden outcomes.

Unfortunately, many are not taught the ropes of the overseas systems or see getting out of St Vincent and the Grenadines the lone objective, hence, are oblivious to the need to seek advice.

Hence, there needs to be due diligence, thorough background checks of the various colleges and universities which sometimes hound Vincentian student- athletes for their God- given abilities.

Persons who have had the experiences studying and competing overseas on sports scholarships, should be sought and the knowledge of the set ups made known. The landscape in these countries is forever changing, and being updated of the trends is paramount.

Therefore, the glitzy expectations, the pie in the sky, easy does it approach which is often adopted by some who embark on overseas scholarships can be tempered by them , knowing that there is another side of the coin.