A few years ago, in a discussion about the possibility of a Caribbean literature prize, I proposed that it wasn’t a good idea, as the politics would make it into a literary Special Olympics (no...
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The trauma of failure
The problem is that we all want success too quickly and are not willing to work at it. That, many believe, is what makes the difference between a sporting person from T&T and one from elsewhere. We, as a people have had things too easy, and therefore losing and moving on is acceptable because there is always something else to do rather than in Jamaica, Guyana or the Islands, where this is the only opportunity to make a name and life for themselves.
All of the above are excuses, plain and simple. This is not acceptable. We have grown accustomed to mediocrity in sport. This is not meant to hurt our sportsmen and women but rather to challenge them and the various sporting administrators to improve their targets and objectives. In Scotland, there are days when you listen and read about trauma and pain, many of those representing their country have endured but still they have not only risen, they have also medalled and in so doing inspired others to follow in their footsteps. It is easy to win and smile and shake hands and be happy, and believe that you rule the world. But when a man loses, you can tell his character. Richard Thompson and Keston Bledman both were hurt as neither made it to the 100 metres finals but that did not deter them in talking out their anguish.
They will both be back, maybe not tomorrow or the day after, but you can guarantee both are built of sterner stuff, the sort of desire we need to witness more in our young and upcoming sporting candidates. To represent your country is not only a privilege, it is a right you cannot and should not abuse as I watched the young men and women from all over the world, hug, their coaches and cry when they were defeated. I can feel the emotion in them, whether it was boxing, squash or gymnastics. It is this pain that will make you better as young swimmers from Scotland explained so eloquently recently.
The idea that they were not achieving the required times hurt so much they had to make personal changes and sacrifices. In some cases, it meant changing a manager, a coach or even a club. In T&T, many of our athletes who should be doing likewise seem afraid to do this because they are in fear of being victimised. I would advise the Olympic Committee to get more involved in some sports to ensure they are not being confused by talk and false opinion. And while I understand the TTOC is short staff and under funded, they are the most trustworthy and independent sporting body in the country, and must get themselves involved if we are to move forward, not backward from these Games. Already we can expect many to point fingers even though there are still further opportunities for success, expectations were unusually high in 2014 because of the large contingent and because we have a naturally misguided belief that following on from previous medal hauls, this one would grow on its own, without any proper reconciliation with the reality that the rest of the Caribbean, not only the world is moving forward.
So as we try to find the smile back in sports after some period of disappointment, let us observe and learn from so many of the other nations at these Commonwealth Games, that understood the importance of country above self.
I have just decided, that the first persons that deserve to wear kilts are some of the officials on this tour, George Commissiong, Dr Terry Ali, Lester Osouna, George Bovell II and Kevin Tinto. We will have to watch for the payment plan to purchase these kilts and the colours they each choose. As for me, I am now looking for another bookie.
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