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Paying homage

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Recognition of persons who have contributed to sports over the years has been done in an unstructured manner, hence many of their efforts go unnoticed.{{more}}

Therefore, it is high time that a systematic approach be taken to correcting this aspect of our sporting history.

We have been paying a lot of lip service to creating a Hall of Fame for Sports, as very little has been done over the years in making such discussions a reality.

With that seemingly shelved, the National Sports Council shall take the lead in re-igniting the issue of recognition.

Yes, the NSC at its annual National Sports Awards Ceremony puts into the spotlight persons and businesses who have made unselfish contributions to sports here.

Further, though, the NSC should undertake to get the process going through the realization of plans to have the buildings at the Arnos Vale Playing Field named after some of our sporting icons.

Similarly, the National Sports Council, which is in charge of most of the sporting facilities in the state, should make it a policy to recognize the brick layers and trail blazers of sports within their local, in some form.

A plaque, some portraits, even maybe a simple large sized photograph would be conspicuous in the dressing rooms of the facilities, and might be enough to say well done, we recognize you.

What about naming the Richmond Hill Playing Field Pavilion after Leon Doyle, who was a long standing groundsman and one who groomed, cared and nurtured that facility as if it were his own?

Similarly, there has been lots of talk for several years about finding ways of remembering the efforts of the late Paul Boucher, who was synonymous with developments at the Victoria Park in the 1970’s and was a fixture at that venue as a gateman or an umpire.

Recognising his contributions has remained in the talking phase, as nothing concrete has even taken place. In fact, today it is almost a dead issue.

Admittedly, there are some sporting associations which have endeavoured to retain some semblance of recognition of their past members. Power to those who do.

Some, at their major events, invite them, let them perform small roles, such as handing out trophies and prizes, among other duties.

It will not hurt national sporting bodies or community organisations, which administrate sporting events in their districts, to make it mandatory to name some of competitions or trophies after stalwarts who have laid the ground work for today’s existence.

Maybe a simple invitation to regional or international matches hosted here will satisfy them that their efforts and input over the years are still remembered by some.

It was a good gesture some years ago by the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association, which named some of its divisions of the annual National Club Tournament in honour of persons such as Marlene Arthur, Cecelia Richards and Peggy Hull.

However, under the current Executive, in the most recent national club competitions held earlier this year, reference was not made to attaching the names of those persons to the respective divisions.

Is it that such homage has gone through the door?

Also on the downside, there are occasions when known sportsmen and women pass on that some national associations are not even represented at the funeral services.

This may be one of the reasons why some persons currently taking part in sports do so with much indifference as if they are preparing for the shabby treatment and lack of recognition given to those who went before them.

But the issue of giving recognition where it is due should be attacked from both the national sporting associations and the broader policy makers seated in the government ministries.

And, as this column has been advocating the appointment of a research officer to gather and document information, records, photos, and other paraphernalia on past sportsmen and women, this could work in tandem with this current call for greater tangible homage to be granted to them.

No homage, though, for the continued presence of that Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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