First term schools’ sports assessment
There was some excited anticipation, when prior to the start of the 2019/2020 schools’ sports programme, it was evident that the officials from the Division of Sports and Physical Education, within the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, were taking the lead.
Their lead though was not a take over as such, but with Ministry of Education, Reconciliation, Ecclesiastical Affairs and Information in an official collaborative position.
In essence, it was a reversal of roles for the two government ministries.
For some, the switch was seen as a breath of fresh air, as previously, there were many pitfalls, negligence and indifference that were exhibited, which led persons to welcome the change.
So in came the new lead players who promised to be different and without saying so explicitly, subliminally proposed a better administered schools’ sports output.
Off they went, and during this the first term of the academic year, the personnel oversaw the table tennis, netball and football disciplines.
Yes, all the disciplines’ competitions were completed as the winners were known, as well, the various awards were distributed to the top performers.
Whilst it may be too early for one to confirm or subscribe to the saying that the more things change the more they remain the same, there must be some reflection on the execution of the three disciplines completed.
Commendations are in order for the timely and generally detailed information that was fed to the media. The work of Khalil Cato must be hailed in this regard, as he endeavoured to be expedient in the dissemination of the results of the matches.
Too, the decision to have matches in the netball and football competitions played after the normal school hours, as well as on weekends, added some spectator interest, and brought the respective sporting disciplines home to the community.
Indeed that was a plus, as all reports suggest that there were good showings from fellow students, parents and other well-wishers.
Such was the impact of the following, that the netball finals, held at the Kingstown Netball Centre on Saturday, November 23, and the football finals, staged last Sunday at the Victoria Park, created an atmosphere befitting of the occasions.
But for those persons who over the years have been scrutinising the operations of schools’ sports, the eyes obviously would have equally been focussed on the new actors and actresses in the new configuration.
Therefore, not withstanding the fact that the actual output on the fields, the courts and on the green tables, were below expectations, there were some administrative kinks that are in need of ironing out.
Hence, the good idea of having some matches in football and netball taken to the community fields and on weekends, must be buttressed by the necessary security arrangements.
Yes, the communities would provide that ready-done crowd support, but equally that is a recipe for danger if the necessary police presence is not in place.
Reports that the exuberance of some supporters potentially affected the safety of the students who were engaged in the respective sporting disciplines.
The fact that one school was involved in fights that threatened the security of others, is an indication of the potential fear issues if better security systems are not put in place.
Hopefully, the personnel directly engaged in the planning exercise of future competitions must, as a matter of priority, take the issue of safety into consideration.
Too, in framing the plans for the next set of competitions, the matter of health should also be on the list for the organisers.
When one looks at the matches in netball and football, which are high intensity disciplines, except for the first-aid kits of some of the school teams, there were no medical personnel on hand to attend to any incidents which required such expertise.
Whilst one understands the intricacies of providing such persons, greater efforts must be expended on ensuring that medical persons are on hand at matches, especially football.
Apart from health and safety, again, the same wrongs were committed, as there was the absence of those technical persons, (table tennis exempted), who should have been on hand, to identify those players who showed exceptional talent.
Here, the onus must be on football and netball officials to get this segment right.
It is all well and good to have these competitions, boast of their successes, but unless there are exponential growth, then they just become formalities and run of the mill activities.