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Cool down


Now that the hectic Carnival celebrations are over, it is time to cool down and get back to the business of sports here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

Whilst many were enjoying the Carnival, this country’s senior male Basketball team was carrying out ambassadorial duties in Grenada in the revived Windward Islands Championships.

And they did what they set out to do, and that was to retain the title which they won the last time the championship was held in 1999, right here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The local guys got wins over Dominica and St. Lucia, but lost to Grenada, who in turn had lost to Dominica. The Vincentians triumphed because of a superior goal difference.

It was not just a win for the team and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but more so, a win for Basketball.

Over the years, the sport has been in park mode, mainly because of administrative kinks, lack of facilities and, additionally, very little corporate support.

Yes, there is the New Montrose Basketball facility – a place which can be called “home” .

Although thankful for small mercies, that facility is far from being acceptable for a national sport to thrive, but it has helped.

Even though there have been community competitions here and there, namely Biabou, Marriaqua, Calliaqua, and Campden Park, the national tournaments have not truly reflected the overall popularity of the sport.

This has led to Basketball not gaining the recognition and focus which many believe it deserves.

But these developments parallel the emergence of Adonal Foyle, this country’s first and lone NBA player, and the rise in fame of WNBA players Sancho Lyttle and Sophia Young.

Additionally, several players were jetted off to colleges and universities in the United States on Basketball scholarships.

These developments, however, were not matched on the ground in terms of the growth of the sport.

What was noteworthy about the recent success in Grenada was the value of the input from experienced players, both local and those who have migrated and are honing their skills mainly in the USA.

In the Vincentian line-up, there were seven players who are beneficiaries of Basketball schooling in the US.

Few of the current squad were around in 1999, when this country was also victorious. This is also a good measure of the state of the sport.

On home soil, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Basketball Federation has had several coaching courses to its credit. However, the frequency of the courses has not translated into the development that was envisaged.

But what is instructive, too, is the demise of the sport in Union Island, which about a decade ago was the go to place for players with a high level of drive and Basketball ability.

Similarly, the schools’ competitions have been sporadic, thereby not providing that feeder necessary for continuity.

On the positive side is the continued rise of the sport on Bequia, which can boast of having the best organised sporting competition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

What then is needed is for our home grown players to step up to the plate and get to that level worthy national representatives.

Additionally, flesh must be put on the grassroots and talent identification programmes so that latent abilities can be harnessed.

Talk and window dressing alone will not do, but decisive action is needed for the upward movement of Basketball.

Winning the Windward Islands championships, whilst an oasis welcomed in this a national sporting desert, must not cause us to rest on our laurels.

So while we celebrate the achievement of the national male senior Basketball unit, let us cool down and get real with the sport and get it on a better footing.

No cool down in calling for the complete removal of the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.