The greatest test of one’s strength of character is perhaps the ability to make the best of a bad or worst case scenario.
Moaning and groaning about uncontrollable or unavoidable situations hardly ever solves anything.
Wallowing in defeatism speaks not to any external situation but demonstrates serious personal shortcomings.
We take the proverbial hat off to many in some of the so-called lesser developed Caribbean territories who have produced the likes of Kim Collins, Kirani James and others in the face of stadia being devastated by hurricane or the absence of stadia and hence a stadium track.
And now to Barbados.
Much has been said about the National Stadium, its unavailability for NAPSAC and BSSAC, and the impact this has generally had on the 2013 athletics programme. Many of our schools’ athletics meets have had to return to the grass at their schools or in some instances, at Kensington Oval, or at the Weymouth Complex on Roebuck Street, St. Michael.
Government has made a decision to do necessary remedial work on the track at the National Stadium. There will be and have been some who have questioned the timing of the restorative work. But we believe that irrespective of when the decision was made to do the work somewhere in one of the 11 parishes of this island someone will find a reason why it should not be done at a particular juncture.
The point is that a decision was made and what was necessary was to plan around that decision and make the best of other circumstances that were presented. The usual moaning and whingeing that have become so much part of our DNA will never produce a solution to anything.
Last week Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley revealed that despite the scepticism surrounding whether or not the island’s children would get the opportunity to compete against each other at NAPSAC and BSSAC level, there would indeed be a sports meet.
He stated that there would be a one-off Barbados National Secondary Schools’ Championships and revealed that the island’s 22 secondary schools would be divided into two zones. This revelation came following a meeting with officials from the ministries of education, sports, as well as school representatives and other stakeholders.
Of course, the extenuating circumstances meant that factors such as short notice, hurried preparation, and other nuisances were likely to come into play.
It provided an opportunity for all involved to make the best of a difficult situation, come together, shoulder responsibilities, accept the expected inconveniences, and play a definitive part in the interest of our nation’s children.
Unfortunately, or perhaps not surprisingly, this was too much to ask.
We understand that 16 secondary schools gave assurances they would take part in the one-off championships, but today at the Weymouth grounds we had the ludicrous spectacle of a mere seven schools taking part in the meet. And they are to be complimented — Darryl Jordan Secondary, Ellerslie, Foundation, Lester Vaughan, St. Leonard’s, Alma Parris and Deighton Griffith.
We understand and appreciate that today was Speech Day at Combermere and we observed that while the BNSSC was going on at the Weymouth grounds, the boys and girls of Harrison College were engaged in a possibly more important Fun Day at their nearby school grounds.
A check with officials at the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council has not unearthed any official reason for the absence of the majority of secondary schools from the meet.
We will not attempt to offer any conjecture but suffice to say that up to 3 p.m. today, none of the athletes present had complained to officials or the media of pot holes in the field, or even field in the pot holes, hay or grass fever, Acute Absence of National Stadium Track Syndrome, or the like.
What we did witness were a number of principals, teachers, coaches, officials and especially hard-working, eager athletes of the seven mentioned schools making the best of the situation.
And there was no moaning or groaning.†††