September 10, 2004
Basketball due for an injection

A number of Vincentian sports men and women have improved their sporting and academic value through basketball scholarships. They have enrolled in universities and colleges in the United States of America, Canada and other areas.
One reason cited for the decline in the fortunes in West Indies cricket has been the diversion of cricketing talent to basketball. {{more}}There has been an increase in construction of hard courts throughout the state. The National Lotteries Authority and Vinlec have collaborated in the provision of facilities for basketball here.
The sport has grown by leaps and bounds and the standard of basketball has maintained a sufficient quality over the past fifteen years.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the defending Windward Islands basketball champion, even though they have not been challenged on the field of play since they copped the title here in 1999.
The 2004 Vinlec National Basketball Championship opened last Saturday at the Montrose facility. But conditions at Montrose are woefully inadequate.
The Basketball Federation will have to step up on fund raising and give Montrose a face-lift.
The game deserves no less, and the safety of players and spectators alike, as well as the aesthetics of the area is worth the embellishment.
The incomplete pavilion is nothing short of a glorified bleacher stand, fit for the dry weather.
The area is flood lit, but players and spectators had to strain their eyes last Saturday, because of the eight bulbs, half of them were shining.
A run down shack serves as the administrative building. It was repainted for the opening, but it is a miserable representation of what basic facilities ought to be.
Off the court, the surroundings were given an obvious clean up by persons keen on seeing the area brought to a degree of acceptability.
But the yard adjoining the court is a hazard to players, spectators and officials. For with the uneven nature, ankle sprains, and twisted feet are on the cards.
A huge almond tree competes with one of the poles for room in the sky on the southeastern end of the court. And that tree threatens to overshadow the arena.
Some coordination with the Forestry Department will be sufficient to rectify that problem and the area will be pleased with the lightening up. There is no scoreboard, and while the exhibition match between defending champion Calliaqua United and an All Star team was in progress, fans had to be content with up dates from an official announcing over a D.J sound system.
Persons close to the basketball Federation commended sporting enthusiasts for putting their hands and hearts together to straighten up the fence. That made the area appear to be under control.
You should see what pertains as the bench. One team used a piece of board placed on three concrete blocks. And that was high enough for them, but the other bench was a similar length of board, but on one block. That left the players almost at ground level, and made a mockery of the function.
Altogether it was an exciting display of skills with Calliaqua United winning the All Star team 75: 68. But oh how conditions need to improve.