Last Saturday, Presentation College, San Fernando, opened its refurbished squash court. There for the cutting of the ribbon and official opening was President Anthony Carmona, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Darryl White, RBC Royal Bank T&T managing director, all past students.
Also present was the president of the T&T Squash Association (TTSA), Diane Julien.
On that same day the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) held its career workshop for the athlete seeking to represent T&T at the upcoming Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas, while there were a number of events taking place including the National Association Athletic Administration (NAAA) Junior Championships.
Some 40 athletes between the ages 14 and 18 years turned up at Olympic House to interact on topics such as mental preparation, anti doping, media training and sport science. The youngsters were very engaged and attentive and their enthusiasm was noticeable.
Going back to the squash court, what gave me significant food for thought were the words expressed by the trio of Presentation College past students at the refurbished squash courts. Notwithstanding their success in their chosen careers and they had reached the high point of leadership, influence and authority in the legal and banking world.
What was crystal clear, and those present were left in no doubt, was the indelible positive mark that the holistic education they received at Presentation College with sports playing an integral role spoke volumes as a testament of the transformative power of sport.
School principal Dexter Mitchell expressed commitment and recognition that the role of sport stood out. Like all who have enjoyed their school days, firm friends were made and fond memories, sport is influential.
But given the difficult economic challenge T&T is facing and with cutbacks on many fronts negatively impacting sport and sport organisations, it was encouraging to hear his excellency President Carmona, Al-Rawi and White, acknowledge the positive impact of sport.
The effort of Presentation to keep sports as a key pillar of the college’s education and school life is not to be taken lightly. Located on Carib Street, the choice to remain loyal to sport, is a laudable one.
It’s not only about winning Olympic medals but of even greater importance and impact is instilling a love for physical activity that will positively impact healthy lifestyles.
One can expect that TTSA will embrace the opportunity to engage and work with Presentation College to make San Fernando and the college a squash hub. As the legendary actor Paul Newman reminded when he said, “A man can only be judged by his actions and not by his good intentions of his beliefs.”
Action speaks louder than words. The current economic challenges ought not to deter efforts to ensure the student population in every primary and secondary school across the twin island republic have access to and the opportunity to participate in sports, physical activity and physical education. It ought not to hit and miss.
Given surveys and research showing that obesity is a serious issue there is a bigger picture that is crying out for attention and focus. Investing in sports, physical education and physical activity in our nation’s schools will bring a significant return on investment no matter the yardstick that may be used.
Sport, physical education and physical activity will make a positive difference to the children and youth that spend a lot of their time going the school.
Editor’s Note: Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee and the views expressed are not those of the organisation.