Sports entertainment or embarassment?
The above was the title of a 2013 Kaiso which would have been performed in round two of the Kaiso finals if Ghetto Prince had not fallen ill that year.
These lyrics continue to be relevant as we again witnessed Dominica's football at its lowest, having been hammered for ten goals to five in just three games, during the recent Windward Islands Football Tournament played at the Winsor Park Sports Stadium, while, ironically, commentator Trouser Doctrove reminisced with pride when he was part of a successful Dominica team some 43 years ago.
The final game in Windward Islands Football Tournament encounter was even more devastating as an advantage of a 3-1 score line quickly transformed itself to 3-5, with Dominica's opponents scoring four goals in less than 15 minutes against the boys of the Nature Isle! Our team, disorganized and burnt out while Coach Ronnie Gustave and stars of yesteryear as Coco-shoe looked on in helpless disbelief from the stands.
As usual we heard the story: "They did not stick to the game plan"; one wonders if there ever is a game plan because surely football fans only saw frantic efforts of long kicks directed to captain Kurlson up front but very little in drafting a play.
The Bagio's and all the titles of world stars bestowed upon our players with shouts of "blue blue" or Bombers from south or north could not inspire any performance when we meet our peers from the Windward Islands and so, sports remain not only in de same spot but has certainly moved back quite a few notches in the last two decades. In fact we have had almost nothing to cheer about since our stadium was built except for the performances of Shane Shillingford.
Ha! So facilities are not the be all and end all for the development of sports in a country? The Irvin Shillingford's have tried to tell them that we need an emphasis on personal commitment and the right coaching and programmes at the schools. Yes Trevor, another Shillingford, and his Sports Division administrators show some willingness but it's all about organizing competitions at the national level while there is a lack of sustainable programmes in schools and an absence of proper club structures.
For instance today annual school's cross country is a 'belle marche' where guys eats snacks, walk all the way with slippers and knap-sacks and once you arrive at the gate….that's it, your House is awarded a point. Those of us who are old enough know of the level of competition which existed in Roseau at the Dominica Grammar School (DGS) in the Seventies among Dawbiney, Dupigny , Skinner and BJ; or at the Saint Mary's Academy during the era of principal Brother Germaine, with Saint Michaels, Georges, Ignatius and the rest. Now compare this to our national meets today!
Kirsten Casimir, Liam Sebastien, Bagio Joseph, Kavem Hodge have all surfaced and disappeared. In cricket, football and athletics respectively we can basically singled out the regional successes of Shane Shillingford, Kurlsen Benjamin, and Luan Gabriel as notable exceptions in the last decade and this came with personal commitment more than facilities or remunerations which seem to be a priority for too many underperforming amateurs who are more concerned about the exploits of Manu, Chelsea and Liverpool in the English Football League!
Really it's not by accident that the Romans wanted to prove themselves as superpowers and conquerors in medieval times not just through the exploits of battle but in sport. Hitler did not feel satisfied in his quest for world dominance if Germany could not prove race supremacy in football. Jamaicans heads are held high because of sports, particularly sprint, and of course music, while the same can be said of Brazil's football despite the country's levels of poverty. It's because it is a reflection of a country's might not just economically or militarily but its health, pride and ability to persevere and conquer particularly on home soil.
On the heels of our prize-giving ceremony for those who performed creditably in sport for 2013/2014, I wish to submit that real improvement in sport will inevitably and exponentially bring about increased pride, patriotism which will translate to industriousness and development. If we just see sports as a game or merely entertainment and nothing more, then, the following extract from " Sports in de same spot' is dedicated to you:
"While we fighting each other down Other countries keep moving on and on With serious programs to improve their nation We must take a cue from Jamaica and sister island Grenada And see how sports can bring some recognition In de 70's there was so much promise before we turn Winsor Park Jurassic A generation of sportsmen gone While we fight to head sports Associations
But since I know this country- sports in de same spot Things regress if you ask me- sports in de same spot No tennis court in we city- sports in de same spot No indoor facility- sport in de same spot We produce Luwan Gabriel and Jerome Romaine Now we have more officials in the Olympic games (And the weakest minister in every party Is put to head sports and culture constantly) Since I know this country - sports in de same spot Sports men still can't get time off work- spots in de same spot
The buzz word is eco- tourism But what about sports tourism To help put our nation on de map We underestimate youth resource And never ever consider much What a Kirani James or Bolt can do for us I remember Chinee., Coco Shoe and Mikes Sprags, Roho when football was tight Now no practice fields in Roseau So where you want young people to go".