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One more time down the track

Barbara Gloudon

Friday, December 28, 2012    

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HERE WE GO AGAIN — preparing for the changing of the guard, handing over the baton from one year to another, preparing to head down the track one more time. Sporting metaphors come easy for us. Having etched our name in history in London this year, wouldn't it be great if we could anticipate further sporting glory in the year ahead?

Just imagine if we had a football team equivalent to the track and field Titans who took us to the top in London. Then, we could anticipate storming the goal at Rio World Cup next year. Ahh well... we can't have everything... but that doesn't say we can't dream... That's what old year/new year reflections are for... a whole heapa imagining.

On the list of what we could have done better in 2012 is the lacklustre performance of the Reggae Boyz. Did the Road to France really happen or was it just part of another dream? As we watched our great hopes slide into oblivion this year, you have to wonder why we've even bothered to convince ourselves that we could regain the glory of 1998. As to the excuses, give them a rest. Nobody is believing them anyway. Millions of dollars have gone down the drain and millions could do a repeat if we don't find a way to stop the slide which our international football hopes have taken. The excuses, the donmanship and the self-deception have got to go.

Just in case we need reminding, it is goals, not big-mout chat, which make winners. If we are to retain some of the sporting pride which uplifted the nation, one resolution which should be made as early and as seriously as possible is to lay off the excuses. I really do not want to hear another team official, back home from an unsuccessful tour attempting to snatch victory from defeat.

No one is fooled by "Oh, we played quite well, even though I have to admit that we didn't make it to the score board. But you know what... look for us next time." Well, get this, managers: Read my lips: There's a difference between 'Next Time' and 'Next Never'.

BY THE WAY, if you're beginning to think that this is going to be a "year in sports review", that's not the plan. It's just that there are some things we have to get out the way. Let me remind you that, at last, we could stop eating humble patty when it came to West Indies cricket.

It was great to be cheering instead of cursing. At last we're back to "Rally round the West Indies". It was even greater to sing Redemption Song for Gayle, not forgetting the courage of the Jamaican prime minister who took on the ginnigogs of WI cricket and won.

In other areas of the sporting arena, we had our fair share of win, draw and lose. Definitely a winner was the return of boxing to the spotlight. We brought off the staging of a world title bout and we introduced fashionistas to ringside, a new backdrop for photographers. Sponsors love when they back winners and their investment was well spent this time.

A new talking point was the "buy and sell" of high school stars of football and track. What is surprising is that some people in society were not aware of that kind of trade. It's not bad-mind why some are hesitant about trading students in a "sports market". Those who hesitate, do so because there is evidence of what happens when a young person fails to live up to the expectation of "the buyer" and have to deal thereafter with the damaging blow to their self-esteem.

This can and has led to withdrawal from society and solace found in substances to dull the pain. You'd be surprised how many of these "used to be" athletes are to be found wandering our streets among the destitute and the depressed. No one is saying this will be the inevitable outcome for every traded athlete, but it has happened enough to warn against entering into contracts without full understanding

FROM SPORTS, we move on to other things, important enough to raise argument. We're talking of the warnings of local prophets and prophetesses which have made newspaper headlines. These seers have proclaimed that the New Year will not be easy (surprise, surprise).

Apparently, we can expect much smiting of hip and thigh (Old Testament style), in reward for our wayward ways. Even Parliament will not be exempted, apparently. Beware! You shall reap what you sow. The Lord doesn't love ugly. I can't imagine why any of this should be newsworthy, however. Haven't we been seeing evidence of Divine retribution before?

What I hope we will really focus on is the challenge of how to rear a new generation which can turn out better than their predecessors. As 2012 limps along to its close, a major concern is the future of the children. They're smarter, brighter and more determined than ever. This makes child-rearing even more challenging. Stories of four and five year olds mastering technologies are now commonplace, creating a bigger gulf between generations.

What do you do with someone who knows everything but can't do anything? We're churning out graduates of this and graduates of that who can show certificates but little experience. We are also deep into the age of entitlement. We want what we want and we want it now. All these and more are questions which will follow us into 2013 and beyond and hysteria is not going to solve them.

The State is facing increasing demand to give better care to youngsters under the age of adulthood who have fallen into the clutches of the law and sometimes are jailed along with hardened felons. The reported dissonance between the staff of child-care institutions and their young charges is not a pleasant story either, nor does lack of resources not make it easier. We have a lot to answer to and time is running out.

THE IMF SAGA remains incomplete. To sign or not to sign? How much should we give up to get how little? Like Brer Rabbit said to the Tar Baby "Pick me up is trouble, put me down is trouble". We have been keeping an eye on America and its journey to the "fiscal cliff". Few of us here know what it is all about, except for the frightening fact that if default comes, our Diaspora family will have less disposable income which means less remittance and more preckeh in JA....

Check you again in 2013.

gloudonb@yahoo.com

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