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Olympian: Run with education

Kenmore Bynoe

Olympian: Run with education

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BARBADIANS have been reminded that our national heroes have worked too hard to give us access to education, our foreparents have sacrificed too much to ensure that we were educated, and we have spent too much money on education for backward thinking rhetoric to be bandied about to fool our young sportspersons that they can succeed without an education.The reminder came from former Olympian and head of marketing development and public relations at the Barbados Port Inc., Freida Nicholls, as she delivered the feature address at the Barbados Cricket Association’s 2009 Awards Ceremony at the Accra Beach Hotel on Thursday night.Speaking in front of president Joel Garner, former presidents Captain Peter Short and Cammie Smith, sponsors, players, officials, as well as Phil Culligan representing the British High Commission, Nicholls said that if anyone could show her two sportspersons who had made it without an education, she would show 20 who had not.Wholesome activityBefore touching on that highly ventilated topic, Nicholls, who also teaches at the University of the West Indies, gave a presentation on the importance of sports in the context of national development and regional and international recognition.  “When you can focus the energies of thousands of young people on the wholesome activity of sports rather than the negative temptations they see all round them, that creates positive citizens for the future,” she said.“When you can teach thousands of young people every day, through sports, the benefits of a healthy body that is drug-free, that significantly reduces the numbers that get hooked on drugs.“When you can use sports to develop character, to teach our young people how to work as a team, how to play fair, how to respect themselves and their competitors, that produces well-rounded citizens.“When through sports you can build self-confidence and self-esteem in our young people, and demonstrate that it is the way you play the game that is important – not just the win – that produces future leaders who can take those skills into the classrooms, to their workplaces and to the sports administrators’ postions.“When through sports our young people can access a free college or university education and return to give back to the country that gave to them, that helps to build our human capacity as a nation, and movtivates others to follow in their footsteps. “That, in essence, is the contribution sports makes to national development,” Nicholls said.She added that the sportspersons of the past who did not have a sound education compensated by their commitment as well as “their unique ability to read the ball, to read the game, to analyse the competition, to change tactics to respond to the shifts on the field of play, to think on their feet, to make the impossible look commonplace”.Warning that this is the 21st century where education is a necessary tool of mobility and independence, Nicholls explained that when a sportsperson stood in front of a microphone or a television camera and did not fumble for words, that person was an asset to school, club, or country.While paying tribute to the sponsors, the BCA and the players, Nicholls said that with an education sportspersons would not “have to depend on the kindness of another sportsperson, or the sympathy of a business owner, or the gratuitous nature of a politician to earn a living”. “You will never be reduced to begging someone for something to do to earn a living.”