Saturday, April 13, 2024

MAVIS BECKLES: Much more than seawater, sand


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For too long we in the Caribbean have been sitting back and watching the World Championships and Olympics wid all kinds o’ athletes from the big countries and some dat ya nevah even hear ’bout carrying home all kinds o’ medals round duh necks.
In the meantime, all we ’bout here doing is wishing and hoping and praying and thinking, like in the Dionne Warwick song, but doing absolutely nothing ’bout it.
For too long now Caribbean athletes have been performing excellently in we home (school, club meets) sports, making and breaking records at the Pan Am Games, the CARIFTA Games, the CAC Games and coming home wid all kinds o’ medals only fuh the local newspapers and lone television station tuh carry a couple o’ stories pon dem and dat would be the end o’ dat. We doan even see a piece o’ the performances at any o’ these games.
Fuh too long now we in the Caribbean, who have the best climate, environment and natural foods, have been just sitting and admiring all kinds o’ athletes who have tuh work out in all kinds o’ hostile climates and environments, eat all kinds o’ inferior foods and struggle tuh make it tuh the World Championships or the Olympics evah single four or so years, tuh get duh names pon the world map in order tuh be recognized.
In the opening ceremonies when the athletes from the different nations march past ya could see who does get money spend pon dem; the ones whose countries invest in dem and whose countries are behind dem 100 per cent.
Ya does see another set, the ones who barely made it, wid a few athletes and officials; and then duh is the ones like Barbados who look poor rak-ey, wid ’bout two or three athletes and more officials than athletes.
As Barbadians we know how it does make us feel when we see we athletes out there competing among all the big guns. We forget how all we stop tuh see Obadele Thompson running he heart out tuh get a medal fuh this country. We as a people know how it felt when we see dem give the medal dat rightfully belong tuh Oba, tuh Ato Boldon. We as proud Bajans know how we felt when we drop evathing dat evening in 2000 tuh welcome home we golden boy Obadele Thompson in front o’ Government headquarters.
Look, even though we holler fuh Jamaica till we throats hurt and we felt real good fuh dem, dem ain’t Bajans. And even though we jump up and down, dance and sing when Kirani James from Grenada romp home wid the gold ahead o’ the big boys, he ain’t nuh Bajan neither.
Then when Trinidad’s Lalonde Gordon and the three fellas from the relay team came home wid flying colours and finally Keshorn Walcott’s gold in the javelin, we felt like we had achieved something and we finally had something tuh shout ’bout, but dem ain’t Bajans neither.
So yes! we in the Caribbean stamp we name pon the world map o’ sports, thanks tuh a few outstanding athletes but wha’ ’bout the others who are just as good who need all the help and support tuh get dem tuh dat level?
We in Barbados have always had very good athletes going back years now and we could be on par wid Jamaica where athletes are concerned. We does see the potential in we children from the NAPSAC stage all the way through tuh the Inter-school sports, yet still we cahn seem tuh channel duh energies and raw talents tuh keep dem focused.
The Barbados Government need tuh invest more in its people. It ain’t only ’bout selling seawater and sand, evahbody doing the same thing and sometimes cheaper than we too.
The Government need tuh invest more in sports tourism which would bring in more than enough people and money; like the pastor at the Baptist Church there by the park who just help dat coach Dexter something or the other tuh bring in some Brazilian football teams and hardly anybody help dem wid the funding fuh dah venture and it left dem holding a bundle o’ expenses. Just now the hockey festival gine be on and a whole lot o’ players from all over the region and beyond gine be ’bout here.
It would seem, like all we governments ovah the years does be concentrating pon is politics and how dem could look good but I got one thing tuh tell all o’ wunna: we ain’t voting fuh nuh more corned beef and biscuits politics.
We ain’t want nuh more fair promises. We ain’t want nuh more stoves and fridges nor nuh more $100 bills. We want wunna tuh invest in our people who are our resources – our athletes, not only academics.
We want we children off the streets, and we nation pon the world map in sports, like anybody else.
We want proper functioning sporting facilities wid proper, knowledgeable coaches in the different disciplines – Obadele fuh one – and efficient administrations if we intend tuh see medals like Jamaica.   
• Mavis Beckles was born and raised in The Orleans. She has an opinion on everything.


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