End the road tennis freeway
WHILE?ARGUMENTS continue to swirl about selling road tennis to the Caribbean and the world, it is time to start selling Barbados’ exciting indigenous sport to the local fans.
The hundreds who turned out at the Clash Of The Titans finals at the car park at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Wildey, the Punches in Bunches finals at Belfield, the two Silver Hill editions and the three Islandwide finals at Dover witnessed some of the greatest players in action and took in sizzling plays and breathtaking shots.
However, despite the organizers’ boasting the large turnout and pointing to the attractiveness and excitement of road tennis, it was all free.
Thus, any money that the players would have earned would have come from the sponsors’ pockets or the national Treasury.
While the Silver Hill and Islandwide competitions would have been welcome initiatives by Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley and the Government to create things like summer camps, constituency football and the like, albeit free, to provide entertainment and sporting outlets for Barbados, the Titans and Belfield events were private ventures hoping to generate some income for the organizers.
While the Belfield finals showed that the island’s No. 1 player, Julian “Michael Jackson” White, was still capable of delaying heir apparent Mark “Venom” Griffith’s ascension to the throne, the Titans battle indicated that time will soon be called on White’s long and illustrious domination of road tennis.
Similarly, veterans like Anthony “Ears” Mitchell, Jeffrey “Borah” Best, Dave Arrendell, Adrian “Dan” Skeete, Shabbir Greenidge, and even losing Titans finalist Curtis Jones seem to be running out of time to capture one or more of the local crowns.
On the other hand, the rise of youngsters like Emar Edwards, Dario Hinds, Keon Murrell, Darius “Barracus” Gaskin and others suggests that Griffith’s reign will not be as easy as White’s.
That is why the organizers must swiftly change the mindset of the fans who are likely to complain that they watched the likes of Deighton “Pa” Roach, Anthony “Limp” Richardson, Anthony “Tiny” Jordan and White for free, so why should they pay to watch lesser players now?
Similar logic is used when the ticket prices are announced for a Test match at Kensington.
Getting the YMCA, or better yet, the covered areas at Springer Memorial or The St Michael School would assure the fans of comfortable seating out of the elements and enhance the payday of players and/or organizers.