Our Readers' Opinions
July 24, 2009
Sporting Malady


Editor: The Windward Islands Secondary School Games will officially open on the 25th, July 2009. The Chairman of the Planning Committee Luis de Shong, as expected, will do an excellent job in organizing such games, given his astute leadership, wealth of experience and his knack for getting things done in the public service.{{more}}

The Games should serve as good exposure for our local athletes and give them a sense of what they have to do, if they aspire to reach further on the international stage. Given such a sense of optimism, one cannot feel anything more than sorrow for these athletes as one bemoans the poor state of sports in the education system.

In any society, the education system should serve as a nursery for athletes at the national level, but given the lack of infrastructural support, it is not happening. Are we really serious about sports and its development at the primary and secondary level in this country? A close examination will reveal that six schools with several thousand students: St Vincent Grammar School, Girls’ High School, Thomas Saunders, Intermediate High School, Kingstown Preparatory, CW Prescod have access to a single playing field – the Grammar School Playing Field.

On the western side of Kingstown, St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown, St. Martin’s Secondary, Dr. J.P Eustace Memorial, Kingstown Anglican, St Mary’s R.C. and Kingstown Government don’t have access to the other major playing field in the city.

The Moyne Commission, released since 1945, had recommended that all schools should have a Tuck shop and a playing field. Hence, we can see the by product of such in the form of sports in this country today.

The Inter Secondary Schools Meet should be our premier athletics meet in this country. The poor times clocked and the lack of professionalism displayed leave one to wonder what standards we aspire to reach as a nation. It is flabbergasting to see only the senior Boys 100 and 200 metres athletes running out of blocks and in spikes. The vast majority of the athletes run bare feet, some in all types of outfits, even with their bras exposed. Despite the criticism, one must congratulate the coach at Thomas Saunders for their performance and professional look.

In other Caribbean countries, the hurdles and cross country running are standard athletic disciplines at their meets. They are still absent in St.Vincent!

Primary school cricket and football are things of the past. Volleyball and Basketball teams have been hastily assembled for the Windward Islands Secondary School Competition because some sporting disciplines are not on the sporting curriculum- not because of the lack of will of the coaches, but facilities.

This begs the question, are our children getting a rounded education? Recently, my 10-year-old daughter sent me some pictures over the Net showing me where she came third in her school swimming meet and blowing a saxophone in her music class. Showing my brother those pictures only evoked anger in him, usually complaining that his son is not getting a rounded education. His normal theme “No sports, using a recorder for the past 35 years to teach music in secondary schools, teaching Music and Art without music and art rooms in schools and giving the impression that drawing is the only Art discipline of course taught in the regular classroom”.

The apologist attitude that is always given that ‘we lack resources,’ as if resources are not scarce everywhere or “we are or will get there”, is laughable, as other small countries are out there.

Ati Gipson