As the 2022/ 2023 academic began last Monday, September 5, an air excitement pervaded as that sense of normal operations is envisaged.
Unlike the last two years, this new school year has started with greater anticipation and surety.
This, as whilst we are still in the coronavirus pandemic officially, life in St Vincent and the Grenadines, like in other parts of the world is moving towards greater civility.
We are a far cry from the stymied fashion that persons were forced to endure in 2020 and 2021 when COVID-19 took hold of our movements and restricted everything else.
Therefore, save and except St Vincent and the Grenadines is to experience some catastrophic disaster that will stall the entire school year from running its full course, then we can expect the usual sports programme to take flight.
Sports in schools, in the main was put on hold for the past two years, as students for the most part, were at home, learning via the various online platforms.
As such, there were no Football and Netball competitions since 2019. Similarly, the last occasion there was a Basketball tournament among secondary schools was in 2020, while during that same year the secondary schools’ Volleyball championships were aborted, with only the female winners determined.
There was schools Cricket in 2020 and an abridged Track and Field Championships earlier this year.
It is noteworthy there were no Schools Athletics championships in 2020 and 2021.
So, all is set for a fruitful 2022/2023 sporting calendar among our young sportsmen and women both at the primary and secondary levels.
Anticipation is high for the return of Football, Netball, Cricket, Volleyball, Table Tennis and possibly Basketball.
Unfortunately, some students would have missed the opportunities to show their sporting wares and may have become disinterested.
Obviously, whilst there may be some fall out in participation and drive, there should be enough adrenalin to project wholesome enthusiasm for all stakeholders.
So, if we concede that there are gaps in the academics, equally we must say that there are also holes in the social development of our students, inclusive of their sporting prowess.
It means that our policy makers have to, like they do with the academic side of students’ development, be also cognizant that the same energy must be expended on sports.
With that established, every iota of administrative effort and support should be placed in making the return of sporting competitions at the school level.
Required by all will be that consideration be made of the importance of sports towards the holistic growth of our student population.
At the center of the hosting of the prospective competitions should be assessment of the talents with a view of making that national evaluation of the human sporting assets of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Notwithstanding that there are competitions, the area of focus should be first and foremost on the technical abilities of our students.
In short, this column is advocating that the 2022/2023 schools’ sports tournaments/ championships or competitions be merely developmental.
Given the unforced hiatus for some disciplines, making that restart would not be a simple case of picking up where it was left off in 2019/ 2020.
There has to be a buy in by all, as the respective national associations must pay close scrutiny to the happenings at this phase of students’ blossoming and put in train the necessary systems to make the nexus an assured one.
Collecting the relative data on the talents on show would definitely serve the national good.
It is high time that we deviate from the norm of simply hosting sporting activities and the main objective is to have a winner, fanfare, speeches and closing ceremonies, and no advancements are imminent and conspicuous.
Many of our students have two years of sporting vitality and vigour bottled up in them, ready to be unleashed.
The ball is in the court of the various officials from the Ministries of Sports, and Education to ensure that as they restart and reset the schools’ sports programmes everything is maximized.