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IT would be an exercise in futility to try to keep our national sportsmen and women from participating in some way or another in this country’s major cultural festival Carnival.{{more}}

Many of them will be tempted to over-indulge in the excesses, temporarily discarding their responsibilities, first of all to themselves, then to the sport they represent and certainly to the nation.

Whilst everyone is a free moral agent, sporting ambassadors, no matter how small or great his or her contribution may be, should adopt a deportment commensurate with that status.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this year’s Carnival festivities fall smack in the middle of preparations of several national teams for regional and international competitions.

Our senior female basketballers are readying themselves for the Centro championships as well as the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Puerto Rico. Their male counterparts are preparing for the Windward Islands competitions.

Likewise, the Under-23 male footballers are training for the CAC Games, also later this month.

The Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA), qualifiers are set for St. Lucia, also later this month, as this country and five others seek the available two places in next year’s World Netball Championships to be held in Singapore.

Although a hush-hush affair, our youngsters should be heading to St. Lucia later this month to defend their Windwards Inter Schools’ championships.

This country will also host the inaugural Windward Islands T/20 Cricket Competition in a week’s time.

It was, therefore, heartening to learn that the management of the T/20 cricket team will strike a balance and give minimal time off to the charges, while continuing their intense training.

Carnival has with it many elements that are detrimental to our sports men and women. But we have to face reality, most of our national representatives love to party, especially at Carnival time.

However, trading representing one’s country for a ten-day period of nice time cannot fit the cut.

There have been reports of some noted players turning up to one of last weekend’s national sports assignments presumably under the influence of some liquid spirits. This, if true, cannot be condoned.

Unfortunately, the authorities are not helping to create that balance, as the custom is at this time for most sporting events give way. This in itself gives our sportsmen and women the licence for gay abandon.

If only everything could co-exist without one infringing on the other?

Carnival is not only the girls, party, alcohol, or boys, party, alcohol, but the skipping of timely, nutritious meals, lack of sleep and other things which can be detrimental to one’s health.

One may argue that former world stars in every sporting discipline, also the current crop on the world stage, are known to be heavy drinkers. They party hard, and so on, but does that make it right and must it be emulated?

At least they have reached some level of stardom, hence, have contributed significantly to their country’s cause and maybe can be excused as they are already top performers.

For our locals, over this weekend period, when the activities reach their zenith, when the guard is let down, and caution is thrown to the wind, for those with sober thinking, let moderation be the watch word.

Let not a few moments of pleasure and heightened entertainment become so counter productive that loss of form and fitness are the casualties.

In the same manner, proper judgement is key in all sports. Let us employ that key ingredient over the next few days, and afterwards be a joyous bunch, able to say that you had “fun” but with everything else in tact.

To all a happy, peaceful Carnival, even to those who still have the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.