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Blurs that cloud sports vision
A day will not pass without someone asking me what is wrong with sport organisations and why sport administrators and sport leaders are mismanaging sport in T&T.
Members of the public, parents, athletes, coaches, volunteers and other stakeholders who have had a negative experience, either personally or through a third party, all have a view and opinion.
The Ministry of Sport and Sport Company also come in for their share of blows as has the Olympic Committee. No sport administrator has escaped unscathed. Everyone who has a view and opinion are very expressive via social media, local media or in person. There is no hiding place for sport leaders and administrators. The demand for transparency and accountability is sky high.
In 2007, I completed an executive post-graduate degree research project on sport governance in T&T. Over the weekend I read the details of the project again word for word. Six years later, the concerns of sport stakeholders remain the same. I asked myself: Why? Why is the perception so hard to change?
Is it that national sport organisations (NSOs) including the Olympic Committee have not improved? I know first-hand the significant efforts that the TTOC and national sport organisations are making to improve and build capacity.
NSOs are trying very hard to improve their transparency and accountability. There are challenges and problems but improvements have been made. Is it that it is not happening as quickly as some would hope or expect?
Is it that instead of bringing clarity to the local sport environment, the Ministry of Sport and Sport Company are instead blurring and confusing the operating environment? Who is fuelling the perception of turf battles, disrespect, disharmony, discord and division?
That there is dissatisfaction within local sport there is no doubt. What is the root cause of the disquiet?
Is it perception? Is it fact based?
There is a cry and a search for meaning and impatience may be causing the discontent.
Anything that doesn’t help sport is hurting it. Those who thrive on sowing seeds of disharmony help create the perception that T&T sport is dysfunctional.
We are spending too much time solving problems and not recognising opportunities. The opportunities are there and can be found by paying more attention to the things that are working positively than to those that are giving trouble.
We need to clear our minds of the things that are out of our control and focus on what we can control.
Problems are opportunities: What to do? And how? What have we learned? And why?
Another angle to this is the reality of technology. So many people have strong opinions, access to some information—not all—and freely express their opinions via social media. Any improvement made gets distorted by the fact that it is popular to criticise.
People are involved in sports because they believe in it and are passionate about it.
What sport needs now is a new narrative that drives the discussion and agenda from the problems and constraints to the opportunities and possibilities.
But for this new narrative to be developed it has to begin with accountability.
We can’t allow the lack of resources, of money, of people, of consensus and of time to overwhelm us and become an excuse for inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
It is important to understand how we got to this point.
Brian Lewis is the Honourary Secretary General of the T&T Olympic Committee http//: www.ttoc.org. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC.
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