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Finding a middle ground


The 2009 Inter Secondary Schools’ Athletics Meet has come and gone. There was not any one who lit up the track, there were no outstanding performances, neither were there any unsavoury incidents that caused the event to be disrupted. Great news!{{more}}

The latter is commendable, granted what had transpired over the years, causing the event to be seen more as a battlefield, instead of a sporting event.

Also, too, the local constabulary did a good job with their surveillance. An overkill some may say, but desperate situations sometimes call for desperate measures.

The organizers must be commended for putting measures in place to reduce the incidence of misconduct; there was an obvious lack of a sporting atmosphere at the venue.

It was evident that some of the schools were well prepared for the Meet. Having seen the Thomas Saunders Secondary School prepare for the big day and the methodical way in which their athletes were trained, it was no surprise that they did as well as they did.

A cue can be taken from their Physical Education teachers Godfrey Harry and Japanese volunteer, the indefatigable Miss Ohara, for their dedication to work overtime with the school’s athletes.

It was an outstanding performance, considering that the school has just been around for just over for three and a half years.

This sort of organised approach can only be had if there are Principals who are up with the times and see sports as a valuable tool and not a distraction.

But the Meet had its downsides. The absence of some forms of entertainment, namely, music, especially at the lunch break, added to the sometimes drab atmosphere that drowned the occasion.

Yes, there was music, the same fearful element which was thought to be a contributing factor to the past upheavals; but with appropriate songs, not as attraction, but to keep persons in tune and add some flavour and variety.

So, on one hand, one problem was solved and an important filling was removed.

In addition, the separation of athletes, those in school uniform, and other patrons, may have worked in some way but took away from that competitive spirit.

But that was simply a change that became necessary because of the conduct of some patrons in years past.

It was no fault of the organizers that many persons who are out of school chose to dodge the admission fee by wearing school uniforms.

This in itself is an issue that needs to be looked into, as many can come in the guise of a school’s representative, get deviant and obscure the image of that particular institution.

It was, however, ironic that this year’s event, held when the schools are on vacation, came off without incident.

Rewind to last year when the Meet saw a few incidents of violence, albeit during a time when schools were in session.

On the track, the glamour and the fashion parade overtook the actual events, as some athletes preferred the excess clothing which slowed them down on a difficult sand based, sluggish surface.

This certainly may have been a contributing factor for some athletes pulling up due to the heat generated by the fashionable thermal under garments.

This trend, though, has been allowed to germinate at the individual schools’ sports, and now blossoms at the expanded level.

Therefore, a middle ground must be found to a marriage of all of the strands, where athletes are adequately trained for their events, which ensures good to outstanding performances. In addition, there is a wide cross section of spectator participation, while at the same time there is a feeling of security, and enjoyment of an event worthy of one’s attention.


But it was interesting that Minister of Education Girlyn Miguel remarked at the Opening Ceremony of the Meet that Physical Education is an integral part of students’ development.

Glad that the goodly lady recognizes that fact. However, her pronouncements are diametrically opposite to the thinking of some Principals, who deny students free play, and participation in ‘Physical Education’ or more popularly and aptly called in some cases “Games” .

Madam Minister, if your statement has meaning, then teachers of ‘Physical Education’ should be required to submit lesson plans and be under the supervision of a Senior Teacher, as is the case with any other teacher of the other subject areas. In addition, Madam Minister, that ‘Physical Education’ is not only confined to going on the park and running up and down, and its denial should not be used as a form of punishment for ill discipline by students.

Also, Madam Minister, that some Principals also should not advise their teachers to take Physical Education off the Time Table if the teacher does not attend his/her classes.

Madam Minister, let us see that with the new Physical Education Curriculum to be introduced soon that your Ministry gets serious with its implementation.

No middle ground is being proffered, but an unambiguous call for the removal of the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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