On Target
November 10, 2023
Sports can lift SVG Higher

In recent years, the social component of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has been cascading relentlessly down a bottomless precipice. Unfortunately, this type of unnerving occurrences, is becoming a natural course of life, such that the decadence is seen as inevitable.

Whilst the criminal activities transcend every sphere of the Vincentian society, whenever it impacts youth then the concerns heighten.

Furthermore, and most critically, the youth population of this country, and like many others, hold a significant weighting, as they represent future. Therefore, when our young sportsmen and women become part of the erosion of morals, or even worse, criminality, the pulses go thumping.

And, within the last five years, some young sportsmen have met their demise with gun violence being their main causes of death.

Truth be told, no one would dare say that sports can totally shield persons from being the perpetrators or victims of crime. However, let it not be said with much credence that enough is not being done to draw our people to sports and away from crime.

Sadly though, that is the case unfolding here in our beloved country, as sports continues to be recreational past time.

As a consequence, administrators and sports people alike, do not often look beyond the respective disciplines and their attributes, but simply just get involved.

Sometimes, we then question as to what are the pull factors for our young men especially, gravitating to those social groups that are engaged in nefarious activities.

A multiplicity of factors may cause them to drift closer to gangs, as they find comfort, a sense of protection, albeit falsely; there is some semblance of brotherhood and social identity.

These yearnings are not forthcoming from homes, church groups and even our sports clubs, as the latter too, are grappling with staying relevant and in existence.

But a deeper analysis would reveal that sports people in general, unless they are stand outs, are given miniscule recognition.

Our Physical Education teachers too are not seen as contributors to the development of students at our educational institutions. Hopelessly misguided, in some cases, they are viewed as teachers who disrupt the flow of education, and take away “valuable instructional time”.

Likewise, the accomplishments of our sportsmen and women are not heralded in the same vein as those in the sciences and the arts, just to name a few.

It can be a good move by the powers that be, to begin to offer sports scholarships or bursaries for some outstanding students at CAPE.

The annual exercise done at the Victoria Park during the Schools’ Rally, to announce the National Scholars, Exhibitions and Bursary recipients, could be enhanced with a two “Sports Scholarships”.

Yes, there were a few who have benefited from assistance for studies, because of their prowess in sports, however, this has been ad hoc, hence has not had sustainability.

This column would advocate that in the next handing out of the awards, that a category is found for sports.

Kudos must go to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association and the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines, for awarding of scholarships to two young netballers to attend the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.

In the making since 2020, the realisation took place recently, thus paving the way for aspirations for other netballers.

It is this type of corporate conscience and understanding of what really matters in the lives of our young people, that can give them that extra edge to maximise on their sporting potentialities.

Sports is multidimensional, its social component and economic benefits, can indeed lift SVG higher.

The current state of hopeless can be softened, if greater focus be shifted on giving pride of place to our sportsmen and women in the grander scheme of national development.