The changing nature of our athletes

Vincentian Athletes
Interviews with Orde and Gloria Ballantyne and Michael Findlay, take us back to the days in St Vincent and the Grenadines when family and community were important to the shaping of the individual.
All three personalities highlighted the important role the family played in instilling the fundamentals of discipline in life and the value of sport to their well-being.
To all three, sport came as an integral component in their personal development.
It was important to the family that the children played and tried to do well in sport. Importantly, the senior members in the family journeyed with their children to see them participate and encouraged them in their chosen sport.
The community in which they lived became involved in the sporting development of the children in the area and rallied around them in respect of encouragement, the provision of equipment and in the raising of funds to facilitate participation.
There was a strong sense of community in the past and this was reflected in the way the community followed the progress of the athletes among them.
Young athletes in each of the sporting disciplines were encouraged to develop respect for themselves and their elders.
Findlay, in particular, referred to the elders in the North Leeward community who earned the respect of all, especially the young and who encouraged the athletes at every opportunity.
There was a sense of pride that was inculcated by
all athletes.
When an athlete made the national team it was the community’s success as much as it was the family’s and the individual’s.
Orde mentioned the pride of knowing that one did one’s best. Everyone was eager to see that and felt a part of it.
Times past saw the young people committed to training, especially in the midst of a scarcity of equipment and adequate playing areas. Still, people excelled enough to reach the respectable pinnacle of their respective sporting disciplines.