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Getting better… only the best will do

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It must be concluded that the 2014 National Lotteries Authority Inter Primary and Inter Secondary Schools’ Track and Field Championships were better planned, thus resulting in better execution.{{more}}

Unlike years gone by, there were not many major issues to report on; there were no recalled trophies, there were not many discrepancies and persons were in the main satisfied with the overall outcome of the two days of national schools’ athletics.

In general, many things went right, while the hiccups were few and far between.

It was most refreshing that the primary schools’ meet recorded a bumper crowd–an occurrence which is worth documenting.

A number of factors could have contributed to the mass following seen at the Arnos Vale Playing Field on Wednesday.

Among them are the current issues surrounding our young students and parents must have erred on the side of caution and turned out to be the day’s guardians of their children.

The innocence of the pre-teens, their unreserved passion to excel at what they do on the big stage could have also caused persons to flock to see what they had to offer.

And, they did without reservation, as the atmosphere of fellow students and parental support spurred them all on, thus creating that competitive atmosphere and friendly banter among supporters of the respective schools.

Commendations must go to the operators of the call room on Wednesday especially, as their proficiency assisted immensely in the smooth running on the day, especially since they were dealing with athletes of primary school age.

Indeed, from the evidence of what transpired last Wednesday, the primary schools’ championships are shaping up to be the premiere event on the schools’ calendar in years to come.

But on the flip side, one cannot help but cry shame on those few primary school principals who have committed that unpardonable sin of debarring their students from participating in the championships.

Reports are that some (the very minority) thought it was unwise to let their students contest the championships, as they thought it would have interfered with their preparations for the new exam format- the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA). .

Such denial and deprivation of an exposure of athletic talent may never come the way of the students, as their morale could be dented eternally.

This, though, goes back to the Ministry of Education officials, who sometimes give such principals the licence to operate with fenceless autonomy.

Come next year, such situations should not be able to reoccur.

Like the primary championships, the secondary time-out had similar ratings of execution and precision.

But the secondary schools posed a different proposition, as whilst there were not the concerns of unruly behaviour which characterized the championships in the past, Thursday’s activities was devoid of that feeling of fierce competition. In short, there was simply no atmosphere, very little cheering and not that fervour to really achieve.

Most telling on Thursday was the absence of the sell–out crowds usually associated with the event.

This must, of course, put the organisers in a quandary, as anyone would like to see the stands filled at events of such nature.

Some people are laying blame on the no dress code and the other sub-cultures which have inched their way into the event and are now part and parcel of it.

Once more, the officials of the Ministry of Education shot themselves in the foot years ago, when the extra charge was instituted for students who opted to wear casual clothes on that day, instead of their school’s attire.

This trend has gone too far to turn back and anything else will simply be counterproductive.

What manifests itself on the day of the secondary schools’ exposé, is a microcosm of a wider societal puzzle which cannot be remedied in one day.

What is needed, though, is a continuous assessment of both the primary and secondary schools’ championships and seek ways to better each year’s efforts.

Of need, too, is someone to manage the championships as events, thus detailed planning can be enforced and regulated.

So, while everyone came out smelling like a rose, after last Wednesday and Thursday’s proceedings, they cannot rest on their laurels and the heights attained this year, but strive for perfection in the ensuing years.

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