Rotary’s ongoing support

On Friday 25 September 2009 the Rotary Club South commenced what constitutes its 12 annual Softball Cricket Competition at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex. This year’s competition has an all-time high of 20 participating teams from firms and other institutions in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Rotary International
Considered the world’s first service club, the organisation began with the formation of the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA, on 23 February 1905. The fact that the meetings rotated from one member’s office to another allowed for the name, Rotary, to be affixed to the organisation. The initial idea was to allow the members to look after their professional and social interests.
It was not until 1922 however that the institution now known as Rotary International got its official name. This resulted from the rapid and far-reaching spread of the concept and the eagerness of people to establish Rotary Clubs in their own communities.
The expansion of Rotary International continued at an amazing pace such that today the organisation has more than 1.2 million members in 32,000 clubs in over 200 countries. It’s mandate has also been expanded to include servicing communities by responding to their specific needs; hence the motto – Service Above Self.
In 1943 Rotary International adopted the Four-Way Test, initially created by Rotarian Herbert Taylor, as the organisation’s Code of Ethics. It relates to what Rotarians think, say or do. It asks:
Is it the TRUTH/
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
The Rotary Foundation was an endowment established for the expressed purpose of  “doing good in the world”. The original concept came from Arch Klumph, a Rotarian, and the legacy is today a remarkable aspect of the work of Rotary International. Today the Rotary Foundation is involved in the granting of scholarships, programmes to assist in the fight against hunger and poor health as well as support for peace initiatives.
Rotary Clubs around the world are therefore renowned for their charitable work.
Here in St Vincent and the Grenadines Rotary has helped with medical assistance for persons in need and who could not have afforded it. The organisation has played a role in the extension of water across the Rabacca Dry River.
Rotary Cricket
In 1998 the Rotary Club South decided to introduce an annual Fun Cricket Competition where the participating teams would contribute a registration fee that would serve the cause of the organisation in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Initially, none of the organisations could have predicted how successful the venture would turn out to be.
At the official opening ceremony on Friday last the organisers, themselves celebrating 12 years involved in planning and administrating the competition, boasted, with much justification and joy, of the success that the activity has become over the years.
Several of the major companies in St Vincent and the Grenadines offer their employees the opportunity to be part of a cause that is bigger than all of us – providing a small contribution to the work of the Rotary as the organisation seeks to carry out its mandate for the benefit of Vincentians.
The management of their institutions joins the employees in some instances as they compete for honours in the annual competition.
The organisers seek to place emphasis on ensuring that the competition is a fun-filled activity where Fair Play is the order of the day. There is very little rancour. The umpires’ decisions are readily accepted and teams pay little attention to being defeated. The competition is based on an understanding of what sport is all about – fun-filled participation.
While many seek to win the competition all participants are aware of the cause in which they are involved.
This year’s competition has been sponsored by DIGICEL, another new feature and a boon to the organisers in terms of achieving their primary objectives for hosting the annual activity.
Because the competition will move through October, the month in which this country observes its 30th anniversary of Independence, the competition organisers opted for providing teams with their polo shirts, which are fittingly in the colours of the national flag.
It is unfortunate that while there continues to be an increase in the number of teams participating in the annual Rotary Club Cricket Competition the number of supporters has not attained comparable growth. That is not to say that there is not much support for the activity. Some years ago it was most interesting to find that there were more supporters at the Rotary Cricket than at the Windward Islands Cricket Tournament which was being contested on Arnos Vale #1.
One would however have expected even larger attendances that we see currently. One would have thought that the various participating entities would have sought to impress upon the rest of their employees the importance of the cause and encourage them to lend support by being present from time to time.
The organisers have appropriately set the competition schedule to be Fridays from 7:00pm and Saturdays from 3:00pm.
Additionally one would have expected that the Vincentian public at large would have readily joined forces in the support of the many good causes of the Rotary in St Vincent and the Grenadines by occasionally presenting themselves at Arnos Vale on Fridays and Saturdays for the next few weeks.
There is a sense in which the people of this country appear to be losing interest in sport. The competition from internet-based games as well as the interest generated by Face Book and the number of internet chat programmes all impact negatively participation by children at an increasingly younger age.
Earlier interest in sexual activity by members of both gender now leave many parents unwilling to allow their children to engage in training programmes without appropriate supervision beyond the school hours.
The comfortable mediocrity associated with increased middle class status may well have begun to impact Vincentians such that children spend less time walking and/or running to and from school, thereby enhancing their own fitness levels and the attendant interest in sport.
Perhaps it is a combination of the foregoing that have prevented the Rotary Club South’s Cricket Competition from benefitting from larger crowds on the weekends.
Sport, fitness and wellness
Sport remains an activity that aids in the overall development of the individual. The choice of cricket, a sporting activity, by the Rotary Club South to promote good causes is particularly important. It reflects a continuing awareness of the role sport plays in any society and in this case, in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
For all the talk of a so-called ‘wellness revolution’ we are woefully short of an appreciation of the requirements of physical activity to our mental and productive wellness in this country.
Generally people have become aware of the need to be physically active largely through the wealth of information emanating from the North American environment, especially the media, on the number of non-communicable diseases that can be kept at bay through s daily diet of exercise. The exercises need not be strenuous. The individuals involved must nonetheless be consistent in ensuring that they keep a routine going that leaves them fit. They will soon find out for themselves the direct link between physical fitness and mental alertness.
There is much that has gone wrong with the system that is Vincentian society. There is the decay of the family to such an extent that some parents are competing with their own children in the social arena. Some parents have completely abdicated their responsibilities for their children leaving them up to the teachers at the schools who, incidentally, do not receive the support of the aforementioned parents when incidents occur.
Individuals, for whom teaching is a necessary chore for which they are underpaid and consequently, unless paid for extra-curricular activities such as sport, remain unwilling to engage themselves beyond 3:00pm, now increasingly access the education system.
The Rotary Club South must be commended for the effort and dedication put into its annual fun cricket activities. In their own way they contribute to the struggle for us all to recognise the role of sport in nation building through the building of character and the enhance of a sense of community.