Sports’ star search
For too long, St Vincent and the Grenadines has been operating in sports without an iconic figure; someone who has that persona to inspire others and put the country in the limelight.
Since the most recent exploits of the likes of Pamenos Ballantyne, Sophia Young, Rodney “Chang” Jack, Marlon James, Cornelius Huggins, Ezra Hendrickson, Kineke Alexander, Adonal Foyle, Sancho Lyttle, just to name some, we have had a bare cupboard of those who caused others to look the way of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
This is not to say that there have not been others who had come to the fore, however, they have not had the sustained level of performance and achievement, as those mentioned above.
At present, N’ Keale Harry, who is Vincentian-born, but resides in the USA, may be the lone beacon keeping the flag of SVG fluttering in the area of American football.
It is quite unfortunate that we at home don’t possess a sportsman or a sportswoman, whose name is on the lips of the populace for his/her exploits.
Too, it is safe to concede that among all the disciplines, there are no stars, no draw cards, at the various local competitions.
Can anyone with any level of certainty name one local footballer, one cricketer, one netballer or any sportsman or woman for that matter, which persons here readily leave their homes to see in action?
Instead, Vincentians have to rely on those who light up the television screen, to be the ones being revered.
Therefore, the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Stephen Curry and Le Bron James, among others, have been clothed in glory.
Whilst one accepts that things have evolved over time and that mass media have been very influential on the sporting psyche, it is inexcusable that we do not have a local, regional or international sports star.
This is against the reality that producing at best, a sportsman or woman, who at least is a stand-out at the sub–regional stage, is not a simple process.
But it is equally unforgiving that there are not support systems to ensure that such persons are structurally produced.
Too often, promising sportsmen and women emerge, show some talent, then fade into an average individual in their respective discipline.
This is the case as well for those who after being spotted here, get the opportunity to harness their skills overseas, either at the US college or university level, or with some semi-professional or professional outfit in some other part of the world.
It is a sad affair that we have reclined in a mode of mediocre acceptance, that any sustained effort are employed to change the situation.
Getting out of this rot of acceptance must be an undertaking of first and foremost, the national associations.
A concerted effort must be made by these associations to put meaning to the concept of elite athletes (used here broadly).
Through talent identification programmes, those whose exceptional prowess must be placed in a separate grouping and given specialised coaching and training.
But this is the ideal situation, as everyone knows, success is not a cheap venture, and is not attained by “mauby pocket” investments.
With that established and accepted, the powers that be must be on board in the provision of resources, to convert talent into stardom.
This can be done with the present crop of young sportsmen and women who are coming to the fore.
Undoubtedly, there are some whose names are popping up in various disciplines, and if given the proper nurturing, can graduate from promise to product.
The state of play of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ sports, needs an injection and getting a household name in the shortest possible time frame, can be that fillip for a nation that once had a smiling face, with sports being the agent of that happy countenance.