Translating belief into support for sport | Things that Matter Column

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Public and media opinion seem to be squarely in the corner of T&T sport. Everyone appears to agree that sport can do wonderful things for this country.

Opinion surveys will probably show that public sentiment and mood is that our sportsmen and women and national sport organisations must be financially supported. Nowhere is there anything but overwhelming support.

No matter where you go, the prevailing opinion is that sport can play a major role. No argument. As far as the majority is concerned, there is a vision for the role of sport in T&T. Why isn’t that strong vision and overwhelming support not translating into financial support?

Some have argued that sport here is suffering from a lack of respect for process and structure. In the absence of a systematic disciplined way of doing things, there is no way a coherent implementation plan can be put in place.

How can there be oversight responsibility if every chief, cook and bottle washer run in different directions all hell bent on doing their own thing?

How do we build respect for process and structure, develop more organised structures and work within guidelines? It cannot be done helter skelter.

There are a number of groups and organisations doing excellent work within local sport. Loads of money appear to be floating around. So why is sport struggling to attract funding? Is it a perception or a reality?

There are those who suggest that within sport, funding is not going to the people and groups doing the best work with a proven track record. How do you separate fact from fiction?

What can’t be denied is that sport in T&T is in need of funding.

Where is it going to come from and who will provide it?

If you want an excellent example of a sport programme that most people feel deserving of support, the Eddie Hart Football League is one.

I attended the opening of the Eddie Hart League at the Tacarigua savannah on Sunday. The League is celebrating its 48th year.

The enthusiastic gathering included Member of Parliament for Tunapuna and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Winston Dookeran, chairman of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, alderman Edwin Gooding and deputy chairman Esmond Forde and justice Sebastian Ventour.

The gathering highlighted the power of sport to cross the divide, be it politics, class, social standing, race and religion.

The vision and energy of the league’s founder remains undiminished, notwithstanding the fact—as he alluded to in his address—that there are many obstacles and tribulations.

That Hart has championed the cause of the League for 48 years is a reflection of his indomitable will and passion for sport, the community of Tunapuna, football, the young men and women and children who participate in the league.

The presence of the Police and Prison bands and steel bands created a patriotic Trinbagonian ambience.

The march past had a variety of displays, some more creative and precise than others. The exhibition match between two Pro League teams Massy Caledonia Aia and San Juan Jabloteh signaled a message that sport has no borderline.

However, one couldn't help but sense an undertone of frustration at the fact that the League is still in an annual struggle to attract the funding and financial support that is needed.

It no longer makes sense to ask why.

The real question may well be: Why do we tolerate and accept these contradictions in our society?

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