Parents tend to dissuade children from playing sports because they deem it a distraction from their real purpose in schooling – academic success and a path to successful employment. It is not surprising therefore that for many parents a poor report card is met with a stern warning to desist from any further involvement in sporting activity of any sort. This is considered an appropriate form of punishment and for many the best form available.
It is also very unfortunate that for too long the family and the educators in Vincentian society have seen sport as the option of fools; those who have no academic ambitions or who are ‘dunce.’ Perhaps we may suggest here that this is one of the reasons why our sports are not as well developed as they should be. Sport is often seen as not in any way requiring the application of intelligence yet when the football or cricket team fails for want of intelligent application of skills and understanding and responding to the coach’s strategy we lament the lack of intelligence on the part of the players.
There is little doubt that as long as we continue to have our parents in the dark relative to the value of physical education and sport we are not likely to have a healthier nation and will continue to falter in our sporting forays.
The time has come for a major initiative to be launched in respect of national fitness. Parents have to be challenged in respect of their own fitness levels. Employers may do well to begin to challenge their workers about their fitness levels. They must relate physical fitness to improved productivity.
At our schools the teachers must promote fitness at every turn and establish among the student population that vital link between physical well being and mental alertness resulting in better overall performance.
At the governmental level we have to engage the nation in the importance of physical fitness by launching a major Fitness Awareness Campaign.
The fast food culture has already taken root in Vincentian society and the Ministry of Health and the Environment may do well to engage us all in healthier eating habits couched with a broader national Fitness Awareness Campaign.