How not to lead by example
YET AGAIN, OUR young sportsmen have been misguided.
The latest evidence of this assessment was played out last Sunday afternoon at the Chili Playing Field.
Sadly, it was not the undoing of the youngsters themselves, but by one whom they looked up to, a father figure, a mentor, a guidance counsellor and many other acquired responsibilities.
This, when the head coach of the Owia United Under-19 outfit chose the route of calling his players off the field, apparently upset over a delay in making a substitution.
At the point of the premature end to the promising final, Je Belle was leading the contest, 3-0.
As a consequence, the players from both teams were denied… were robbed… from showing off their football talent in a grand way, in front of an appreciable crowd.
Yes, anyone can be irrational in the heat of the moment, and may do things, but what unfolded last Sunday at the Chili venue can be considered unpardonable.
Reason being that from the sideline view, it appeared to be an act of poor sportsmanship, in respect to the state of that match when the command to walk off was made.
But what was most instructive, is that the offending coach, Dwight Baptiste, is a committee member of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation.
As it is, Baptiste is among those who are part of the national football set-up, and who often wants to institute measures aimed at streamlining the responsibility, conduct and ethics of others.
Obviously, one will now ask if the members of that organisation have the moral authority to expend disciplinary action on others, when at least one of them has been found wanting?
Set aside his national football portfolio, Baptiste has been developing the sport north of the Dry River.
He has been credited for the growth of many players, some of whom have come on the national spotlight.
Baptiste’s predicament mirrors a similar incident last April, at the finals of the secondary’s cricket competition, when former St Vincent and the Grenadines and Windward Islands off-spinner Irvine Warrican ordered off the players of the Georgetown Secondary School, thus gifting the title to the Emmanuel High School, Mespo.
Warrican, who was Georgetown’s coach, also served as a national cricket coach at the youth level, manager of the Windward Islands Under-19 team and territorial development officer for St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Windward Islands.
Granted his status, Warrican received some national condemnation and there were indeed repercussions.
Let us not though focus on the wrongs of the individuals in question, but get into the minds of the young people, who are often condemned when they react with haste and are painted as impulsive and impetuous.
Therefore, whilst not justifying the sometimes short circuit nature of our young people, adults too, are equally guilty of having such traits.
But such occurrences, as what took place last Sunday, should be moments of reflection for all concerned.
Surely, Mr Baptiste, after days of reflection, would have been looking at himself in the mirror and saying: “That wasn’t me”.
He would, on searching himself after the incident, be remorseful and apologetic to the organisers of the tournament, the persons who are his well-wisher, and most importantly, the players under his charge and influence.
Knowing Baptiste well, he would have learnt from what transpired and would have already made those inner adjustments and corrections to his temperament.
It is widely known that many sports coaches have greater impressions on the psyche of those who they dispense their expertise.
Some coaches are more revered than teachers, church leaders, community leaders, social workers, and the list can go on and on.
Hence, it is paramount that best values are transmitted by coaches to their players, as building a country can be affected by the way sports people are cultured.
Sports, like other disciplines in life, are brokers and shapers of integrity, proper human standards and generally the preservation of norms and values.
The young impressionable minds of our sportsmen and women are fertile for the cultivation of habits which would make St Vincent and the Grenadines a better place.
Therefore, the saying that “example is the best teacher”, can be proven; so too non-examples, teach and instruct.