More professionalism needed
On Saturday last Team Athletics St Vincent and the Grenadines held its Annual Awards Ceremony at Frenches House, Kingstown.
On yet another occasion the invitations clearly stated that the dress code was formal.
What happened at the awards ceremony in respect of adherence to the dress code was really a mixed bag.
A glance at the picture of the awardees and others who mounted the podium at one stage or another for the TASVG Awards Ceremony would reveal the significant failure to adhere to the required dress code.
Last year when the awards ceremony was scheduled TASVG reminded awardees and other invited guests that the organisation was committed to delivering a show of which all stakeholders could be proud.
Unfortunately, some of the coaches and even some TASVG officials did not adhere to the dress code.
It was perhaps fortuitous that the National Sports Council’s Awards Ceremony was scheduled for a few hours later the same day of TASVG’s awards ceremony. It was truly amazing to see that several of the athletes and coaches who did not adhere to the TASVG dress code found themselves at the NSC’s awards in fine attire, readily in accord with the stipulated dress code.
Why would athletes, coaches and officials of a particular sport appear to pay more attention to the dress code requirements of the NSC than of their own association?
Is it that the have less respect for their own sport?
Is it that they have a misplaced understanding of their priorities?
Something must be radically wrong with our coaches and officials such that they have shown a level of inconsistency in respect of showing appreciation to their own sport.
What can be expected of the dress code of the coaches and officials of the sport when they travel with teams abroad?
The old people say that charity begins at home. However it would appear that here in St Vincent and the Grenadines that dictum is not always applied.
What we have come to realise is that a significant number of our administrators, coaches and athletes do not have an understanding of the importance of making a good impression on others and of appropriately representing themselves and the institutions to which they are affiliated.
It was simply astounding that after what transpired last year we should have seen a repeat of the same failure by so many to dress themselves to suit the occasion.
The Governor General, Sir Frederick Ballantyne was in attendance. There was a featured speaker. Senator Luke Browne represented the Ministry responsible for sport.
One would have expected that our administrators and coaches would lead b y example and display an eagerness to attend the ceremony appropriately dressed. What kind of example did they give to the young athletes, many of whom were accompanied by their parents?
While some of the young children were well dressed by their parents the older athletes and some of the coaches did little to impress. This was very unfortunate and served to diminish what was otherwise an excellent programme.
One shudder at the thought of some of those in attendance representing the country abroad and the impression they would leave on hosts.
There is a tendency in this country for us to dismiss any attempt to raise standards to a professional level. Clearly some do not understand the signals that such a dispositions ends in respect of one’s self and also about the institution to which one belongs.
Organisations can choose to remain as a gathering of people with no care for ambition.
Some people are content with having it said that the activity has been held.
An organisation that is worth its salt strives to attain the highest level of professionalism in all aspects of its work. Mediocrity is not an option, nor is just getting the job done.
One would have imagined that over the years TASVG would have wanted to deliver as professional an awards ceremony that sets increasingly high standards to the point of pure excellence. That should be the objective accepted by the organisation’s members and well wishers. One would hope that is the reason that attempts have been made to ensure high quality invitations are prepared and circulated to invitees, an outstanding printed programme that can also serve as a souvenir of the occasion, a prompt start to the activity and a decidedly smooth flow of the proceedings.
Many people in the society do not seem to think that time is important and so they readily accept the ridiculous concept of Vincentian time, something that translates to any time.
Similarly, an appreciation for the nature of the occasion and the appropriateness of dress are not given due consideration.
It cheapens an activity to see so many persons in attendance failing to adhere to the stipulated dress code.
One is at a loss to understand why anyone would wish to attend what should otherwise be a class event, looking completely out of place relative to the requisite dress code.
While it is clear that there are dire economic circumstances in our country and also that the athletes and coaches come from different backgrounds the fact is that the governing body for the sport has deemed the awards ceremony as an event that should be of the highest standard and every effort should be made by all to dress appropriately or at least as best as possible.
Perusal of what transpired at Frenches House on Saturday last one must be bothered.
It would now seem appropriate to have TASVG address this important aspect of the development of its administrators, coaches and athletes since from time to time they may be called upon to represent this country at different forums. Should the current trend continue one is loathe to consider the impression of the organisation and indeed of St Vincent and the Grenadines that would be gained on such occasions.
While to many the matter of establishing and sustaining behavioural standards may appear trivial it is not.
Our organisations and the entire country may well be judged by how the aforementioned groupings present themselves at home and abroad.
Given the foregoing discussion, what do we do?
Would training programmes help?
Would it be necessary to have the different categories mentioned above brought to sessions that address such critical areas as etiquette, protocol and communications?
Would these sessions make a difference in how the aforementioned groupings behave?
Many may well ask how do we convince our administrators, coaches and athletes that they must be exemplary in their conduct at all times and that they should know the appropriate protocols that must be followed at all times.
Our sportspeople are ambassadors of their families, schools, organisations to which they belong and of our country and must always conduct themselves in a manner that reflects this reality.
TASVG must seek to redress the current trend if it is to attain the professional standards to which it aspires.