Time to raise the bar
At a recent meeting one individual expressed very strong views in respect of the way sport is treated in the school system in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The argument was very simple. The view expressed was that the system seems to be conducting sporting activities merely for the sake of it being said that they were done. The students get this impression from the system itself and thus display very little interest in participation in sporting activities.
This view appears to be shared by several others in Vincentian society today who continue to lament the chronic decline in participation in the nation’s sporting activities beginning at the school level.
Generally though there are many people who seem to think that times have changed significantly and that the much-valued traditions of the past are fast being cast aside and with it the love that much of society had for sport and recreation. In today’s St Vincent and the Grenadines one gets the impression that sport is being marginalised. The latest evidence of this is the fact that finally the ‘chattering nabobs’ have been brought to the stark realisation that it certainly does appear now that this current administration, however much it boasted in 2000 and 2001 that emphasis was on the youths of this country and that a national stadium was on the cards as a priority, this facility would not be coming any time soon.
Additionally, the determination of precisely what sports facilities receive assistance for upgrade under the ALBA Agreement with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the National Lotteries Authority may well be far more political than based on the systematic interest in and genuine development of the nation’s youths. The proclamation of a Wellness Revolution has thus far been proven to be no more than another farcical nuisance to facilitate the popularity of the ruling regime.
Thereby hangs a tale.
Interest in sport is therefore waning in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Charity begins at home
In the traditional sociological sense it is said that everything begins at home. The family remains the core social institution facilitating the essential fundamentals in the child’s lifelong socialisation.
Like so many other habits if the child receives an early introduction to sport in the family he/she is more likely to enjoy a life of sport and physical fitness than the child who is not so exposed. Of course one must differentiate between being introduced to sport and recreation as part of one’s well-being and an avenue for possible development through to a career as opposed to being forced to ‘do’ sports from the earliest stage with the objective that the child ‘must’ become a national athlete. This latter scenario often leads the child to turn his/her back on the particular sport, if not all sports, as soon as he/she reaches the stage where the exercise of choice becomes an option.
There was a time when parents took their children through the early paces of participation in sport because they themselves enjoyed the activities associated with it. Today many parents seem unable to find the time to play with their children in any sporting endeavour and as soon as the children reach school age they relinquish any such options to the teacher in the system.
Parents must know that children learn what they see. If they see bad habits consistently they are as likely to adopt these into their repertoire as much as they do good habits. Parents therefore have a responsibility to assist their children in the inculcation of healthy lifestyles from the very early formative years. This includes a regimen of exercise in the presence of the child such that the latter grows up with an appreciation for the benefits of regular exercise.
Children should be exposed to the sporting activities of other children at our various venues and on the television so that they can begin to understand sport and appreciate it for what it is and its multitudinous benefits.
Parents take time to encourage their children to engage in study for their future. The same must be done with physical exercise, sport and recreation. In the same way that parents would sit with their children to assist them with their studies they should do likewise with them in respect of reading about and learning more about physical education and sport. There is an important congruence between a healthy lifestyle and one’s academic and personal development. Parents must begin to appreciate this reality.