Within the last ten (10) days, there were two national award ceremonies, starting with the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) on December 29 and followed with the National Association for Athletic Administrations (NAAA) awards on January 6.
While, it has to be stated, that both set of awards were well attended and efficiently organised, there were differences, and much needed at that in words, but in action, it was all about recognising the importance of sports in this environment that we currently live in or some may add, the environment that we live “under.”
Brian Lewis the president of the TTOC, drew strong reference for persons to replace their guns with medals, while Ephraim Serrette the President of the NAAA, was focused on developing the athlete from a young age. Both of the points addressed by these eminent men in the society are intrinsically linked and shows the strong endeavour of both.
Others touched at both events, on those in the corporate world who are both short sighted in thinking and possibly height, on the role-plays because of their own lack of care for this country, if it is a foreign person, that may be excusable but certainly the local fraternity should be concerned with the fabric of the society.
Independent Senator Ian Roach, for me, delivered a most poignant address, that had everyone in the Radisson Hotel, not only attentive, but some even leaning forward threatening to fall out of their seats.
Senator Roach may have written a speech yes, but he spoke from the heart and his delivery on the need for our youth in the society to climb off the floor, to rise above some of what is before them, could not have been better delivered. Unlike many men his age, this was not a man talking down to the people in front of him, but rather Senator Roach was in sync with his message and when he called on the crowd to give a standing ovation to Ephraim Serrette, it was almost as if we were all eating out of his hands.
Senator Roach, identified the need for everyone to accept responsibility, no matter your disposition or situation and he was correct. Perhaps the greatest murmur came when Senator Roach, as independent as you can be, decided he would attempt to make his way down a four-foot ramp on his own and others rushed to assist.
By the way, did I mention that Senator Roach was in a wheelchair, but that has not deterred his resolve over the last six years, and he promised to rest another 400 metres licking on Dr Ian Hypolite? Maybe it is how he is built, perhaps it is his character, and after all he attended St Mary’s College.
The next question will obviously be, who is listening, and who will not only listen but also actually implement, there were a lot of persons in the audience who can influence desired change, if they are so inclined.
Unfortunately in this country, unless you can immediately visualise a dollar value, people loathe to act, it is a myopic view but it exists, short-sightedness is not hereditary, sometimes it is in your culture or your DNA.
The culture of this country must not be trampled on, or be allowed to create divisions, instead, we need to ensure that all sectors of the society are given an equal opportunity to succeed, as it stands now, it appears some are given every chance to fail by certain groups.
It would help if those in authority allow for suggestions and other ideas in sports , rather than grimacing and acting as if the entire world is against them. It always amazes me how people in politics change so quickly.
In London, when Trinidad and Tobago won the 4x400 metres gold, over several countries with great wealth, it emphasized not only our potential to succeed, but the fact, that independent thought outweighs poisonous words.
So congrats to both TTOC and NAAA on setting the tone for a positive 2018, and let us hope that some of what was stated on the two nights sink into the hearts and souls of those with the power to influence.