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A sad state of affairs

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Where are the women? That was the unanswered question at last Monday’s Biennial General Meeting of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association (SVGNA).{{more}}

When the meeting for the much-anticipated election of officers to serve for the next two years was convened, none of the women present made themselves available to head the sport which can safely be called a female sport.

As it turned out, Godfrey “Fuzzy” Harry was elected unopposed to become the first male President of the SVGNA.

But what was more shocking was that only one post went the way of ballots. Not because worthy people were not proposed as candidates for the positions, but no one wanted to serve.

Persons had to be scanning the faces in the meeting hall to find personnel to fill the positions.

It was indeed a day which I never thought I would live to see, but it has happened.

Not that I am opposed to a man being elected, but as a teenager, the Netball administration was the yard stick by which other national associations were measured. Not again!

One would think that the top post would be the aspiration of any Netball administrator. So, surely the men have one on them now, as a man heads a woman’s sport.

But it is keeping with the inevitability of change. The writing was on the wall as many men are coming forward to serve as Umpires at local Netball matches, despite the fact that they are sometimes stigmatized.

There is also an all male Netball team participating in the Marriaqua Sports Association Competition that is currently in progress.

Besides those developments and shifts in acceptance, is it that Netball has plummeted to such an all time low that no one wants to preside over its final burial rites or be the one to resuscitate it?

Whatever the reason, questions must be asked of our commitment to sport in this blessed land.

At the meeting, it was as if we were at a crossroads, deciding whether to take the left or right turn, rather than seeking to carry a national sport forward.

What hurts even more is that Netball is one of the few team sports in which St. Vincent and the Grenadines has had some measure of regional success and reputation. It is now being treated with little or no respect.

Therefore, Harry has his work cut out, as his hands are tied behind his back, and additionally, he is blindfolded.

Harry must first overcome the opposition to his elevation. Certainly, there were several persons at last Monday’s meeting who were not in favour of him being elevated to the post. But that was the democracy of the elections.

Secondly, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a two by four place, and in the sporting sphere, he is not a well-liked person, especially within the Netball fraternity. But, again, once he serves with principle being his anchor, then he has no problem.

I am certain that even within the Executive that he has to oversee, there are persons with whom he does not see eye to eye.

But, Mr. Harry, let the nation see the stuff of which you are made.

Harry also now has to make a tough decision, as he is the be-all and end-all of his club X-Ceed. Will his position create a conflict of interest as he strives to make his club the best in St. Vincent and the Grenadines? His integrity will be tested as every move he makes will be scrutinised.

What he had going for him, though, was his determination to get the job. An aspiration he pursued with fervour. So you, Mr. Harry, will have to deliver.

How you get your Executive to be cohesive and in turn allow the democratic process to take root will be a plus in your remarks column.

To those elected, and netballers and friends of Netball, Harry is the President of the SVGNA. If we say we love sport, and more so Netball that much, let us give him and his relatively inexperienced Executive all the support they need.

Thanks for some action on the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field, but its complete removal awaits this column.

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