Spectre of indiscipline
There’s been a lot of talk of facilities.
Building more. Improving upon the existing ones.
There’s the idea our ethos is to blame.
Maybe we’re just too educated for our own good. Perhaps Bajans don’t truly understand hardship or poverty so other avenues will never be examined.
There’s the belief we lack the resources, both natural and financial.
We only number 300 000 people at best. What booming economic sector does the country have to speak of?
It’s quite possible that one of these factors is the reason Barbados is yet to develop a thriving sporting culture, and is the cause behind the country’s inability to consistently have an impact on sports’ biggest arenas.
Maybe it’s a combination of all the above. Maybe we’re just making excuses.
Or maybe we’re shooting ourselves in the foot, because what we do know is the continual lack of discipline shown by our sportsmen surely isn’t helping matters any.
We shouldn’t go as far as to suggest that this recent spate of unruliness is the reason – or even a reason – to explain the absence of a strong sporting culture.
But it certainly can’t be beneficial to the creation of one.
Forget allowing kids to join teams, parents are now thinking twice before even letting their little ones even attend football games. And that’s times better than the companies who don’t even have a second thought about sponsoring leagues and clubs, or even attaching their brands to sporting entities.
Who could blame them? Not when the new accepted stance seems to be “fight when you’re right.”
Think the foul you just got was nasty? Well, cuff a man in his face, what else?
Don’t like the referee’s call? Curse him and tell him about his lineage.
Believe you’re being mistreated by the coach? Walk off the bench and throw away the team gear.
Disagree with the association’s ruling? Tell the president he’s biased.
Are we going overboard? Then take a brief look at the headlines that dominated this year’s sporting calendar.
One eventful May night, Alicia Jemmott thought it prudent to engage in a memorable, yet vicious verbal tirade on some officials within earshot of executive members of the Barbados Netball Association – just because her NCC Ballers lost a league game.
Local boxing might have wished for such a war of words, because just two months later a bout had to be called off after fans and boxers stormed the ring in an all-out brawl in response to the egregious actions of St Lucian pugilist Dalton George.
Worse yet, the brawl was probably the lesser of the two acts of indiscipline, as George – ironically a police officer by profession – pushed away the official after he initially stopped the contest and proceeded to shower his opponent in blows.
And this was after George was already warned twice for landing low blows in the bout.
Football wasn’t to be left out as they too had a contest blown off, with the much-awaited David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils’ Classic semi-final between the City and St Michael North being rudely interrupted – by a fan no less.
One of the referee’s assistants decided he’d had enough of the constant fan-heckling and feared for his safety when he was eventually struck by a missile thrown from the crowd at a Speightstown venue.
Then who could forget the granddaddy of all incidents?
For the second time in two year, local basketball endured the ignominy of an all-out player brawl – this one involving seven players, two teams and a chair.
And all this because Godfrey Leacock took offence with a mere foul.
In the end he had to take so much more, including some punches, a couple dropkicks and a lengthy eight-month ban from all Barbados Amateur Basketball Associationn (BABA)-sanctioned events.
If only the fallout stopped there.
Two opposing players were banned for life, Leacock’s club Cougars lost their sponsorship, both teams lost any realistic chances of advancing to the playoffs amidst the massive player suspensions, and the BABA could now forget seeking support from anyone outside local judo.
At least the BABA was swift and decisive in handing down stiff penalties, but that still probably won’t deter this suddenly prevailing acceptance of indiscipline, this belief that one should fight at a drop of a hat or curse any official who makes a wrong decision.
But maybe we’re just making a mountain out of a molehill and this will do nothing to set back an already floundering sporting culture.
Maybe this is the way of the world now and the rest of us just need to get on the wagon.
Maybe Barbados was never going to get over the other handicaps and we could as well accept the indiscipline.
Or maybe, just maybe, we’re all just making excuses.