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Sober Reflections

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It’s once again the festive season. And, as Vincentians, “We love we Christmas, we love it bad”. And involving in the excesses is usually the rule, rather than the exception, at this time of year.{{more}}

But it may be a time for all who are involved in sports, whether at the administrative level or as actual athletes, to take the Yuletide season to do some sober reflection.

For the past twelve months, it was plenty of this, plenty of that, and plenty of the other, but not with much progress.

No one can stand and say that 2007 was indeed a water shed year for sports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As it stood, another year of mediocre and at times sub-standard performance both on and off the field.

So it is time for us to sober up, as we have been so intoxicated with the spirit of division and back biting that we have stumbled and fallen, probably to our lowest ebb.

What or who then stands out in the last calendar year? Undoubtedly, young 14-year-old tennis player Fabrice George is head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of having lifted his game.

Pamenos Ballantyne has had a relatively good year by his standards. The long distance runner has participated in two marathons, five half marathons, ten 10 K’s and two 5K’s, among other track events, with some good returns, especially in the 10K’s.

The two gold medals earned by our boxers at the OECS Championships, and doing so without a boxing ring, must be hailed as an act of perseverance, and what can be achieved with intestinal fortitude.

And, there were one or two odd pieces of sporting glory, like Delhonni Nicols-Samuel’s bronze medal at the Carifta Games, with him training on a treadmill.

Apart, no one else lit up the Vincentian world.

Instead, what we were fed with was a steady diet of diatribe that often caused indigestion. Preoccupied with rancour, many of our sporting disciplines were held hostage.

The stand off between the Department of Physical Education and Sports and the Ministry of Education must be the most undesirable scene in the local sports sequel.

Similarly, the much promised returns from the official warm up matches here for Cricket World Cup, which never materialised, and the fiasco that followed, must get the role as the co-star.

The Cricket Association is part of the support cast, where local players were able “to do weh yo like” during the Windwards tournament and may have caused this country the league title. This should jolt Julian Jack and his executive to look back hard at the way things are done and who they put to carry out certain functions.

Our footballers, after reaching the finals of the Digicel Cup in Trinidad and Tobago, beat Guyana, but lost to Cuba and Guadeloupe, while the Under-23, with a final berth in the Olympic Qualifiers, served on a platter, did not bring the prerequisite cutlery to the table.

With the World Cup Qualifiers on our doorsteps, and the knowledge that Canada is this country’s opponent, not repeating the same mistakes, as in our four previous campaigns, should be foremost in the minds of those vested with the administration of football. It may also serve us good that our players in training be guided as to their indulgence. So, too, are our five senior cricketers selected for the Windwards team. This is not a time for gay abandonment.

The netball hierarchy should use the season to also reflect on the continuous slippage of this country’s standards on all fronts.

Maybe it may serve our sports administrators and athletes alike to make a New Year’s resolutions to do better than what obtained over the past year, as we were not well served.

Those who are there for whatever little glamour should ship out and make way for those who are serious. Let us make some sort of introspection. I am certain many would be ashamed of what was offered as stewardship.

But as we enter 2008, let me not have to repeat this same script and thoughts this time next year.

It is also my hope that by this time in 2008, the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field would have vanished.

Happy Holidays!

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