by Ray Roberts
The government investment is huge — really big, to ensure that its secondary schools zonal parish games and the grand finale are of exceptional quality and standard but is it at the cost of betraying the traditional values of school sports – that’s focusing the competitors on running the fastest time; throwing the furthest and jumping the longest for the pride and glory of one’s school?
The announcement that the Soca King of the World, Mr Killa and other international artists will be performing during games this Friday at the Kirani Games Stadium will most definitely give the event a completely different focus. Instead of sport, entertainment and bacchanal.
The celebrity status of these international performers is sure to arouse the passion of the innocent boys and girls to merrymaking thus reducing the sport to a secondary event
Undoubtedly the key objective of the government is to create a magnificent spectacle of cheering fans — a grand charade to prove to the Grenadian people that the teachers’ union members “work to rule” had no impact on the government games.
Personally, I am saddened that 2019 secondary schools athletic season was a huge failure and wished that the government and teachers could have settled this issue amicably, but that was not to be.
The government’s decision to ignore the teachers and stage their own games was a miscalculation. Yes, the government has the money and the resources; but without the volunteer participation of the teachers and supporting groups, the respective zonal games were going to be a disaster. Few athletes participated — many of them in no identifiable uniforms, and that took away from the usual image of school sport. And above all — a significant number of the competing athletes were obviously disinterested, making the respective zonal games just a casual exercise in beautiful weather.
The politics of the day has undoubtedly taken all the flavour out of track and field in 2019, and the repercussion could be felt in subsequent years. Also, it could impact on the star-studded Grenada Invitational track games scheduled for next weekend at the Kirani James Stadium. It would be disappointing not to see a full house at the event.
So the one man who could bring out the crowds, and more so the youth, is the king himself — Mr Killa and the government is using that trump card to sell its games.
Clearly what our government and Ministry of Education are promoting as secondary school sport for children of all ages is now certain to be a hell of a carnival and bacchanal in the stadium. And look at when that’s being done — in the period of Lent which leads to Easter – the most important Roman Catholic and Christian religious event.
As usual expect dozens of vendors selling alcohol in vans as well as in nearby shops in the vicinity, a real possibility of excessive drinking and, among the consequences, (as the Soca song says) “Pick up something and run” — possible resulting in significant teenage pregnancies occurring — among other delinquent behaviours.
Let us not ignore the fact that today’s Soca music is much about women and sex, and exploiters will take advantage of the unsuspecting, once the sun goes down
Many of the secondary schools participating in the games operate under the auspices of a religious denomination and they all should object; to a calypso show in the middle of the sport during the Lent and they ought to do so strongly. The fact is there is absolutely no need for a Soca show in school sport
The Conference of Churches Grenada, the Seventh Day Conference of Churches and Pentecostals Assembly have a duty to themselves to ensure that our nation’s children are protected against abuses and exploitation; and they too must take issue with government and the Ministry of Education.
In summary, I feel sorry for the poor mothers who are out working and will not be there at the Kirani James Stadium to protect their daughters from the generation of men who behave like hungry sharks, just waiting for that opportunity to prey on young girls
Parents, you are being short-changed – absolutely no need to have such entertainment in school sport.