EDITORIAL: Sport part of education package
TODAY STARTS WHAT should be a most exhilarating three days of track and field competition among our schools. It is the time for us to be excited by the endless positive possibilities that may emerge in terms of talent during the primary and secondary schools championships.
It is an opportunity for us to encourage our athletes to aim for athletics excellence, contribute to building the Barbados brand in this sporting discipline and, in the case of the senior students, create some opportunities for themselves as talent scouts from a few North American universities and colleges will be watching.
These championships are also a good starting point to drill home to these young sportspeople the importance of being drug-free as they endeavour to run faster, jump higher and throw further. They must understand the danger and damage caused by using performance enhancement drugs.
The competitions will be about rivalry, but should also serve as an opportunity to mould character and build lasting friendships. Unsportsmanlike behaviour must be avoided both on and off the track.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to give the athletes the necessary support and stand behind them regardless of the outcome. The three days of action will give parents a better understanding of the competition their charges are up against and the standards required to be the best in their field.
This is also the perfect time to recognise the true worth and contribution of physical education teachers and coaches to the overall education system.
Sport must be seen as part of the total education package and our educators need to ensure students understand the importance of blending academic or technical and vocational studies with the pursuit of their sporting passion. Colleges and universities are no longer accepting students simply because they are on top of their game but lagging in the classroom.
For the organisers, it is important that students from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Barbados Community College and the Barbados Vocational Training Programme who meet all the requirements be integrated into the secondary school championships.
The objective must be to attract and expose the very best.
The events must be a spectacle that participants will always reflect on with pride. We know the benefits both for those individuals who stand out and, by extension, the country.
There is no better example than the Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers whose focus was always excellence on the field of play. For the next three days of competition at the National Stadium, the watchword must also be excellence.
Let the games begin.