Incentivizing is the next best option
On Target
February 17, 2023

Incentivizing is the next best option

Should our sportsmen and sportswomen settle for medals for their performances? Should they hold as their highest honour of achievement to represent St Vincent and the Grenadines?

Conversely, are our sportsmen and sports women deserving of more than medals and ambassadorial status?

These are some of the unanswered questions that are not rhetorical but pertinent in providing guidelines as to the way forward in sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

However, the most instructive and most pertinent question is, are we doing enough to lift the standard of performance among our sportsmen and sports women?

Most who follow our sporting landscape and are in the know, will respond in the negative.

It is sometimes misconstrued that simply administering the various disciplines and hosting events are the hallmarks of development.

Likewise, ensuring that sporting infrastructure is in place is one slice of the entire pie of success.

Unfortunately, that is not the case, as our overall performances and results are not reflective of that notion.

As such, there is often that knee- jerk reaction when performances go awry, with most of the blame, and sometimes ridicule targeting the innocent ambassadors.

But how many persons actively involved in sports are doing so with that genuine passion to take their performance to that perceivable and attainable next level?

Truth be told, many play sports just to past time, while others do so having been sermonized to, that sports can take them places, or even they can become professionals.

While the latter is plausible, not many of our Vincentian sportsmen and sports women have excelled to the point of earning a decent living and are set for life.

This is, notwithstanding that a handful of Vincentian sportsmen both on and off the field have been able to use sports as an outlet for personal and economic development.

It may be a good outlook for us to begin to find ways of extrinsically motivating our current stock of sports people.

Incentivizing them has to be the next best option as the natural gravitation to sports is not spawning the interest needed.

And, there is evidence that our local footballers are willing to leave these shores and head to places such as Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda as well as the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla to ply their trade.

Many may argue that they are paid minimal amounts for their services, but at least they are financially rewarded.

Indeed, our local sporting authorities have to begin to map out ways of making the sport attractive, even if it requires monetary rewards.

Players today want to be touched individually and as a collective, playing for the love of sports and its physical and social derivatives, is fast being slotted in the archives.

We see what takes place with the Vincy Premier League (VPL), where cricketers receive about $1000 to compete in the 10/10 format.

Invariably, they give their all, as they are remunerated, albeit pittances. It therefore, behooves that some of the national sporting associations and federations whose top prizes remain trophies and medals do a rethink.

Gone are the days when those were cherished possession; today, it takes more to bring out the best of our sportsmen and sports women.

Another alternative is for a national incentive scheme, funded by the National Lotteries Authority, in which those engaged in sports and who possess that willingness to be better at their craft, be provided with an honorarium.

Sports, like other facets of life cannot go on good will and good nature, as success is not a cheap commodity.

Producing better sportsmen and sports women is not possible in 2023 and beyond, when the demands, expectations, the science, all point to a shift in approaches.

We are culturally a reactive society, so we can at least begin at the juncture of seriously instituting a national preparation programme for our potential athletes (used here generally).

Something definitely has to give one way or the other, and if incentives, cash or kind are the next best options, then let us just to do what has to be done.