Zico, Sabrina shine as NSC falters
The 2014 edition of the National Sports Council’s (NSC) Tiger Malt Mr Schoolboy and Ms Schoolgirl competition is now history with Zico Best moving one spot up to take the Mr Schoolboy title while newcomer Sabrina Newton proved to be the top girl in bodyfitness.
However, while boasting of staging the competition for two decades, the NSC must recognise their tremendous failings in staging this year’s event. It was ironic that while I was lamenting the absence of senior coach Adrian Donovan, I received a call from a senior official at Guardian Group, who was expressing concern over the coverage of the Herman Griffith Cricket Competition.
Once again, I had to lament the absence of Donovan, who would normally make my life miserable by calling me at dawn to tell me where the key games are being played and where he is placing the sponsors’ branded stumps. Once I had taken those shots, Donovan would ensure the media was furnished with the scores.
Recently, I have been “stumbling” upon rescheduled matches, and after submitting photos all of my efforts have been wasted as the media struggle to get scores and results of the matches played during the day at all corners of the island.
Ironically, I had raised that concern before the start of the competition and I was told that “someone in the office would get out the scores”.
This year, the NSC indicated that a number of cutbacks meant that there was no Press launch for the bodybuilding show and no hype to indicate the top contenders.
Thus, on the eve of the competition, I went to the NSC to get the list of competitors to prepare a preview.
No one was present to assist me and no one answered at the phone numbers I was given. I left a message at the front desk for Acting Assistant Director Anna Shepherd, who was at a meeting.
She called back later and said the person in charge of the bodybuilding show would call me immediately.
I saw that person the next day and he said he needed a number to contact me; he could have gotten my number from anyone at the NSC, including the gardener.
I was met at the door by Donovan for the past six editions of the bodybuilding competition.
He would give me an amended programme, show me where to sit so I can get the best shots and even try to get me to take a drink.
This time, I had to “steal” a programme which one of the judges afterwards amended for me. I also “stole” a seat next to the judges table, only to later observe my media colleagues standing against a wall for the entire show while sharing one programme.
The late start has become traditional, but NSC must enforce that schools submit their posing music early to allow the sound technician to create a playlist, thereby avoiding mix-ups and delays in a competition comprising mostly minors. The end result was a show that ended after 9 p.m.
The usual emcee Ivor Worrell, who normally displays his knowledge of bodybuilding and protocol, was absent. Former West Indies A team wicketkeeper-turned bodybuilder Michael Worrell did an adequate replacement job.
The cutbacks should not affect the little ones, who ranged from ages 6 to 11, with trophies awarded only to the top six – so many of them had to troop off the stage empty-handed.
I am sure that Shelley Phillips and Banks Holdings Limited would have no problem in presenting a six-pack of malts to those who did not win trophies.
After all, it was the little ones who made the show what it was with their brave performances and endearing smiles. Kudos must be given to Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School and Bay Primary who turn out large numbers of competitors yearly, backed by almost the entire staff and large groups of supporting family and friends.