Promoting sports education in the Caribbean
Promoting sports education in the Caribbean
The marrying of academia and sport is one essential tool that can enforce pivotal change for our society.
Sport is heroic. It is an artform that transcends and transforms the athlete, the spectator and the recreational enthusiast. Not only does it bring a sense of pride and euphoria to the world, but its glue-like properties are activated each time it is used as a catalyst for reformation. In the Caribbean, sport is an arena that only the politically strong and the whimsically talented dare to venture into; it is a utopia that needs to be continuously challenged and is an avenue that is not recommended for the faint of heart.
Whilst the Caribbean boasts of famous athletes such as Sir Brian Charles Lara, Usain Bolt, Sir Vivian Richards, Tim Duncan and Merlene Ottey just to name a few, due to cultural indifference and calamity we as a people are yet to fully grasp and understand the socio-cultural and developmental platforms that sport can be utilised to not only propel and transform the nations but also to identify how it can be used to grow and nurture younger minds. If tackled strategically sport can catapult us into a new and improved dimension of socialisation, development, a cleaner holistic environment and can stimulate a new generation to serve an uplifted, diverse society. We need a change! Educated youth in sport is the future.
History has proven that the ignorance of the value and the importance of sport has led to it not being considered essential. Culturally, sport is labelled as play or “sweat time”. Now that the world has been trying to find ways to combat COVID-19, professional sport has been placed on the back burner and recreational “casual” sport has come to the forefront. But do we really know how to effectively utilise sport in this downtime and maximise its immediate benefits? Technology has stepped up to become our personal mailman during this time and technological platforms such as YouTube and Viva Video are providing substantial instructions on how to work out and keep fit whilst you stay at home; but is this enough? Are we really getting the true value and essence that sport is supposed to provide?
The marrying of academia and sport is one essential tool that can enforce pivotal change for our society. This can primarily be done through the promotion of sport degrees, educational seminars, life skill workshops and even community breakout sessions. Breaking the ignorance barrier and instilling the all-round values of sport such as fair play, teamwork, sportsmanship, economic development and even entrepreneurship to our children, young adults and athletes alike through education is needed in our society. The stigma that all athletes are “jocks” needs to be stripped permanently. Educating our youth on how sport can enhance and affect the body, the mind, relationships and communities can truly transform the thinking of the new generation. There is a difference between learning to play a sport and learning how sport affects an individual physically. There is also a difference between learning and executing skills needed for playing as compared to skills needed for teaching, learning and coaching persons involved in sport.
A passionate, determined, educated and enlightened individual will stop at no cost to make and effect change. Sport itself does not need to change per se, but if we expand our thinking and shift our mindset to see the bigger picture beyond sport and play, we can revolutionise the way sport impacts our societies.
Will we see young adults with sport academic backgrounds stepping out into the political arena? Will we see young adults with enhanced sport-social charisma and compassion transforming communities through sport and education? It is definitely left to be seen but, we can be rest assured to know that nothing is more powerful than a changed mind and education is the catalyst that provides the dormant unchallenged soul with limitless possibilities.
Mrs. Rhonda Clarke-Goden (MSc. Sport for Development) hails from the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and is an instructor at the University of Trinidad and Tobago with over fourteen years of experience in academia and sport for development. The article was reviewed by Mrs. Akeme Abdullah (Bsc. Mass Communications).