Letters & Opinion, Sounding Off

Let’s Nurture The Other Champions

Image of Rochelle Gonzales

OKAY, so who else is at work today with a sore throat from screaming too much over the West Indies victories, topped off with a headache and slight hangover from downing too many beers during the celebrations?

Oh, come on…We all know that most of you are feeling the strain too and like me, are still riding high on that adrenaline, joy and PRIDE for our three, yes THREE West Indian Cricket teams.

The WI Under 19 team won the 50 Overs title and the WT20 Championship titles were won by both the men and women’s team on Sunday, back to back.

Records were set as this is the first triple victory of this sort and another first goes to the men whose team broke the record for being the first team to win the WT20 tournament TWICE.

Yeah, I know that you know the stats but I just wanted to say it again because it feels sooo good!

Now if this isn’t a clear indication that the West Indies, namely Saint Lucia (Yes I’m being unashamedly biased), is a cauldron of talent, then I don’t know what is.

Here comes my sounding off moment…WHY OH WHY isn’t there more effort to nurture and develop that raw talent that is just oozing out of our sportsmen and women, especially the young ones in Saint Lucia?

You can say what you want about me not being fair because this is done for that person and that is done for this person…I’m saying what I’m seeing!

Also, I work alongside a top sports enthusiast/ journalist by the name of Anthony De Beauville and I have heard this man rant about the shortcomings of the Ministry of Sports and the lack of support from the local private sector almost daily. His passion resonates and I can see how much this “injustice” affects him.

But even without him in my left ear, I have eyes and I can see the nonsense that takes place.

Even our pride and joy like Levern Spencer, MakebaAlcide and JeanelleScheper…yes, they have made us proud in the long jumps and track and field but with the proper training and sufficient monetary support, these youngsters could have been Olympic medalists.

There are so many young boys and girls who perform extraordinarily well during school tournaments but as soon as they reach Form 3 at Secondary school, their sporting career is Kaput!

Is this justice? How could PE teachers, coaches, district representatives and ministers live with themselves knowing that this happens yearly and that young people who could otherwise have successful careers in sports whilst making St. Lucia proud with their achievements, are allowed to, in most cases, throw their chances away and settle for lives doing jobs that they hate, IF they are fortunate enough to even get jobs once they leave school?

I’m not even a big sports fan (although I’m watching any game involving Arsenal, West Indies and Golden State) and this hurts me far less for the true sports enthusiasts and teams with dreams of seeing those youngsters succeed. Oh let’s not forget the families of these youngsters who invest hundreds and even thousands to see their little ones win local medals and then we ultimately have the athletes themselves who bleed sports and have dreams of being the next Darren Sammy/Stafanie Taylor, Usain Bolt/MerleneOttey, Stephen Curry/Lisa Leslie, Andre Agassi/Serena Williams or heck even Muhammad Ali/Laila Ali…you get where I’m going with this? The list is long.

Point is, everything they can do, WE CAN DO BETTER, but that talent, to say it is being stifled would be an understatement…I’d go as far as saying that our local talent is being assassinated!

When you have ministries thinking that they have made such a huge impact and contribution by fixing a new field or by buying a club some new tennis racquets, I’m afraid that the poor lads and ladies are doomed to not play past the age of 15.

They are doomed to watch other youngsters from other countries blow the minds of sports fans whilst they sit at home watching the performances on TV thinking “Damn, that shoulda/coulda/woulda been ME!”

They’re doomed to get their sports fixes only from dusty football fields with their “Padnas” or on the basketball court with friendly games with the youth from the neighbourhood.

Think I’m being unfair because we have football and basketball players who win regional tournaments? I say NONSENSE because these same athletes, with the right training could have been in the big leagues…I’m talking international like NBA or World Cup!

The only thing unfair here is that these athletes KNOW their potential and they fight hard to show it off, but the anchor holding them down is killing every passion that they have for sport because no one is willing to invest in them. It appears that the monies have more important matters to be spent on like the next big fete to bring down (REGIONAL and INTERNATIONAL) artistes, carnival etc…gosh, it’s sickening how people and their priorities are so twisted!

I’ll tell you this, whilst I have a lot of pride in myself, I have more pride in my island home and my people so I’m never too proud to beg for the right cause.

It is with that said that I would like to beg the Ministry of Sports and business owners in the private sector to please, look at what has happened here with the WI teams. Please don’t limit our athletes’ success to just cricket and please, pay closer attention to our local talent, nurture it and help that talent explode.

I am begging you, whoever you are to do this for the future and reputation of our home because I believe with my all that we can do so much better.

Give those children some hope again and let sports reign supreme past the age of 15…It would be so AWESOME to see a Saint Lucian name being hailed as the next sports hero/inspiration…don’t you think?

Rochelle entered the Media fraternity in May 2011 as a fresh-faced young woman with a passion for the English language, a thirst for worldly knowledge and a longing to inform the world of what was happening around them, whether it was good or bad.

She began as part of a small news team at Choice Television, which falls under the MediaZone umbrella. She was hired as one of the original members of the newly created Choice News Now team...Read full bio...

 

3 Comments

  1. Sacrifices can be very painful at times but one has to prioritize their lives and make some painful decisions in order to sustain their entire family. The same holds for our government.
    Let me give you a perfect example. I had a brother who set the academic standard for academic achievement in 1971 on the island of St. Lucia.
    His overall personal achievement of almost a perfect score in every subject on the national test examinations place our small community on the map of St.Lucia. The school Master was so proud that he gave the entire school a two hour lunch. The normal lunch break was a half hour.
    Then came his opportunity to attend a higher school of learning. Mostly everyone in the community was beaming with anticipation and pride of him attending that school.
    From a financial standpoint my parents simply could not afford it. Had the done so the rest of the family would have ended up being homeless.
    It was with great hurt that my parents sat him down with the rest of the family and relayed that dreadful bit of information to him. Being the smart individual that he was, he realized and understood the truthfulness of of my parents situation.
    Never once did I hear him complain or used that situation to harbor grudge or ill feelings towards anyone, especially our parents.
    I myself has classmates who suffered those very same consequences. Such were the times back then.
    One would be hasty to draw conclusions in today’s life and question why other alternative options were not seek back then. However, if you did not live in those times back then it would be easy to draw such conclusions. That type of decision became almost a normal practice back then especially for poor struggling farmers who overworked themselves as slaves for a misery few pennies in the banana industry for the mere survival of their families.
    Most of the kids understood the gravity of that situation and never once complained. However, I am overjoyed to say that those kids somehow persevered and used all other opportunities that became available afterwards, to better themselves and that of their household families.
    As a result, through their selfless attitudes they gave and paved ways for their younger siblings so that they were able pursue their dreams.
    That demonstrated the closeness of many well knitted families.
    Those were indeed Glorious Days of living even though our families had little in terms of material wealth.
    I would not trade those days for today’s lifestyle for all the monies in the world.
    Our present Prime Minister and his brothers were fortunate not to have undergone those similar extreme challenges.
    You have never heard him me too his personal challenges while growing up as a young struggling first sin. His great mother was Blessed, like most others back then, because of their strong spiritual beliefs and was somehow able to finance her sons education.
    Many people question how she was able to accomplish that feat.
    Even with his high educational accomplishment, he also still remain a humble and somewhat simple person as well to this day. So I do have much respect towards him.
    I can testify to these facts because I lived them as well.
    So Miss Gonzalez, we are forced to make serious sacrifices in times of dreadfulness.
    Unless a private organization is willing to finance these athletes there will be struggles for them, sad to say. If our government does, many other vital sectors of our government will suffer as result and the opponents will gleefully pounce on such opportunities to exposed how the incumbent party mishandled the country’s finance.

  2. Can you show us a different photo of yours, this old one is old hat.
    Surely you can come up with a prettier one, as a lady; but with such a big smile?

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