February 26th, 2013
Why gangs and not sports? What is fuelling the gangs and run away gun crimes? Why have gangs become an option for young men? Why are they comfortable hanging out on the streets, joining gangs and getting involved in illegal activity? Is it because they feel ignored by the system? Why is a generation of young men drawn into drugs, guns and other criminal activity?
Is it due to low aspirations, low self-worth, an absence of law-abiding male role models and peer pressure? Why is there the feeling that there is no viable alternative?
They wake up every morning accepting that at days end they may either be in prison or dead but yet they find solace and comfort in the gangs.
Why gangs and not sports? Is sport failing the youth of the nation?
It is against this background that I want to suggest that it is important that National Sport Organisations (NSOs) not sell themselves and their respective sports short. Given the power of sport, T&T need sport organisations and sport leaders to see sport as playing a key role .
Sport can play a significant part in the solution and efforts to drive change for a better life and society. Is it possible? Is it realistic? Why even bother?
What would be required of sport organisations and governing bodies? A start would be stepping out of the comfort zone of only organising competitions, leagues and national teams.
Nor should a lack of financial resources be an impediment.
Can sport leaders think creatively and more intelligently to contribute to a societal transformation here in T&T?
Sport can open the door to new possibilities but sport leaders must be able to imagine new ways to meet the needs of sport stakeholders and build a sense of ownership and a sense of self belief.
This will require a greater involvement with the communities, schools and neighbourhoods.
Sport leaders must ask themselves what is their vision for their sport and organisations?
How many sport leaders want to approach challenges and problems differently? Would sport leaders, national organisations and governing bodies reach out to gangs and offer sport as an alternative?
There is no doubt that we are all participants in the creation of our lives, and we are all responsible for creating the T&T we want to see.
Greater fulfillment is possible but sport leaders must first look within themselves and question their priorities, circumstances, their purpose and vision for sport. Re-examine their thinking.
The only way sport can make its contribution is by believing that sport can and should help make T&T a better place.
At its core, sport is joy, love and happiness and that’s why it can make a positive difference.
There is no lack of opportunity.
Walt Disney said “All our dreams can come true—if we have the courage to pursue them”
The core values, purpose and mission of sport have stood the test of time. A big vision and a can do attitude will ensure that sport can make a significant difference to the efforts to build a better T&T. It will take a shift in how we think about sport but it can be done.
Is it worth it ? If sport can be an alternative to gangs it will be more than worth it.