EDITORIAL - Finding the right balance
Congratulations to the kings and queens at The St. Michael School and also the queens at The Foundation School in successfully winning the title in this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championships. For Foundation, it was the third win in a row.
Last week’s cover of the Advocate showed the athletes from The Foundation School proudly displaying their trophies. The elation could clearly be seen on their faces, as was sure to be the case with the St. Michael School athletes. They are winners and no one can take that pride and honour away from them.
There are several other persons to be congratulated who would not have been present in these photographs, but whose contribution to the successful performance of the athletes from all of the participating schools cannot be overlooked.
The students whose voices could be heard from the stands as they cheered on their schoolmates, invigorated by the pulsating beats of clapping hands, stomping feet and make-shifts drums made from
ice-cream tots and biscuit cans; and accompanying teachers maintaining order, whilst they themselves overflowed with pride for those who are placed within their care on a daily basis.
Not only must these teachers be praised for their support given on the particular days of competition, but for providing the assistance throughout the entire school year, and particularly in term 2, to help these students strike the correct balance between athletics and academics. This balance is critical as we seek to develop well rounded individuals, not just on-track, but in life.
The teachers also help to instil and cement in the students, pride and respect for their schools. This pride does not easily die, as is evidenced by the scores of die-hard, ex-student fans, some of whom would excuse themselves from work to attend or at least tune into the competition.
The afore-mentioned balance which must be struck in the lives of these student-athletes progress beyond academics and athletics, to contributions in familial activities and responsibilities. This development of time management skills will be beneficial as they begin to navigate through adulthood – juggling self, family, career, et cetera. We have in huge part to thank parents for doing this.
Apart from learning to manage time wisely, these student- athletes need to understand, especially from parents, that being a ‘star’ does not exempt one from responsibilities common to other ‘non-star’ siblings, for example. In the case of school, excellence on the track and field does not mean that one can wilfully be negligent in the pursuit of learning. Should this be the case, the blame rests solely and squarely on us as adults and at large, a society. In doing so, we are raising a class of persons who, because of their “ prestige”, feel that they are above the law and free from whatever social and moral obligations they choose to be exempted from. The shameful thing is that as a society, we can find ourselves coveting the glory of victory to the extent that we would forfeit the “souls” of our sportsmen and sportswomen, as long as they perform to our standard of sports excellence. Well-rounded, moral individuals should be a priority instead.
Lastly, we thank all sponsors, support and technical staff who braved the hot Caribbean sun to serve these students. Their behind-the-scenes contributions are what help to facilitate the smooth running of the competition and ensure that the students are adequately taken care of.
We eagerly look forward to next year, and we know the athletes will be working hard to see if 2019 will be the year where this year’s champions are dethroned.