By Brian Lindsay-Campbell
Recently I posted this question on social media (Facebook) – Can INTERCOL be a weekend event?
And only one person said no because of religious belief.
I beg to differ because our faith should not be based on the day of worship but our relationship with our maker, God Almighty… because one weekend should not change our relationship with our God.
This question – can INTERCOL be a weekend event – was put forward to me by a colleague of mine who resides in New York, USA and a former INTERCOL athlete from the PBC Cannons.
I did not respond to him as yet because I wanted to put forward the idea with a couple officials to hear what they thought about this very innovative idea because it could have significant financial returns for our country.
Permit me to put forward some of my highlights to reinforce the affirmative; Yes it should be a weekend event vs. No, it should not be a weekend event.
The Management of the children
Having the games on the weekend will allow parents to be in a position to better manage their children for the weekend rather than during the week while on work having no clue about the whereabouts of the kids.
I could never understand why the first two days of INTERCOL this year, 2017 at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium was empty just like in previous years when the games were two days.
If INTERCOL is a school event, therefore, all students must be at the stadium for the games for the first two days, even if the teachers should take the roll call to make sure that they are present. (I hope it will never have to reach to that).
Parents will be able to partake in the events because of the time factor; they will have more time on the weekend than during the week.
This should allow them to have more control of the kids and also support the kids who are participating in the games, and also to take charge of the whereabouts of those whom are inclined to have their own agenda.
This could be an opportunity to invite the other schools in the OECS, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the games. Since our INTERCOL is considered to be second to Jamaica in the sub-region it will be an opportunity to have our INTERCOL as an invitational making it a mega in the southern Caribbean.
Another point of view is that the INTERCOL should remain 100% Grenadian because this event is the best opportunity that our young and upcoming athletes have to showcase their talents, hence, the public, as well as the officials, must be able to focus on the performances without any distractions.
The international competition will come via CARIFTA games and other international events.
The marketing of the games:
I think by now you should be seeing where I am going with this idea.
Just imagine the people who are in charge agree to implement this idea to have the games on the weekend.
I am very sure that there will be a buzz for a long time to come because the marketing strategy will have to be dynamic in the promotion of the event as a result of the magnitude and potential that can be achieved from this event.
The seating capacity at the stadium could become inadequate for this mega event.
I am proposing tat this event be marketed throughout the OCES, Barbados, Diaspora community and Trinidad and Tobago in order to attract a significant amount of sporting enthusiasts into our region.
The influx of visitors will fill our homes, guest houses and hotels for at least a week. This could become a major investment in the sports tourism industry for our country, which will also allow many people to (“Eat ah Food”) and the same time having fun while the visitors tour our beautiful country.
The economic spin for us in such a short time will be huge and second only to our SpiceMas if marketed properly.
The Management of the Event:
Some people may wonder how we will be able to manage such a huge event. I think we have some of the best track and field managers in the business.
One sure thing I know is that Grenadians, regardless of political affiliation, will show off our beautiful country to the rest of the world and pull out all the stops to make the organisation of these events a stand-out and managed in a very efficient manner.
Even if we have to ask our people overseas to come and contribute towards the success of the games at their own expense, they will do it for the sake of Grenada.
One of the concerns is transportation for the occasion. I think that based on the nature of this activity, the authorities will have to do some deal with the different bus associations to make sure that the masses are able to be part of this event.
When all the protocol is established for the weekend games, I have no doubt that the atmosphere will be electric while the athletes put forward their very best performance to bring glory to their various schools. Our country will benefit in the process.
I know some people who are reading maybe saying who is that man writing all this nonsense – he must be a communist, I am sure he do not believe in God, he has no time for God, I am sure he do not know when last he went to church and say thank you, Lord, for waking up every morning.
Well if you judge me I will not judge you back because I will be doing the same thing you did or doing. I will leave such activity for judgment day when the Lord will be doing his work.
According to the saying, it is not the size of your house but how many people you have invited to your home. Long before INTERCOL 2017.
I presented the idea to a sporting official and some people that I have respect for and they all said the same thing to me: “It is a school event and certain schools will not participate because of their religious beliefs”.
I also mentioned the idea to a colleague of mine who said this – “It is not about the day of worship, it is about our relationship with God and one day or weekend will not and should not change or hamper our relationship with God”.
He also went to say that the particular denomination that will be most affected has some fine preachers in their midst and I recall one of them whom we used to listen to attentively in the 1970s and 80s.
The remarks of my colleague were very heart warming and up to speed as he is also an ardent churchgoer for as long as I can remember.
Some may say it is a weekend and most children will not want to wear their school uniforms to a weekend Intercol games.
This is where the parents come in because most of them will be at home to make sure that the children leave home in their school uniforms.
They can also take a page out of the St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George and Presentation Brother’s College whose sports are held on a Saturday and all the children are required to wear their uniforms to attend the event.
Furthermore, by putting the school uniforms on on what we might call the school “off days” clearly shows support for the school and the athletes by the students.
This is a positive undertaking. It reinforces the pride and joy one has as a student of their particular intuition.
In closing, let me say that this is just an idea up for debate. Maybe it can be used as a topic in the upcoming GRENLEC Secondary Schools Debate, whereby proposition and the opposition do battle with words.
I think it will be very stimulating and will create a lot of excitement among the debaters, which will give a further insight into the possibility of a weekend Intercol in the spice isle.
The Ministry of Sport and Education along with the principals of the various secondary schools and the sponsor and other stakeholders should carry out a feasibility study on the possibility of such an event in the future.
This could be a mega occasion with the regional and international media at our shores one more time during the calendar year, highlighting our lovely country which will only do good for us as a people while our athletes continue to bring glory to their schools and country.
Finally, children with sporting talent should be encouraged to participate in sports and culture regardless of their faith, which can serve as an inspiration to others.
I think that to use religion as grounds for denying a child the opportunity to display his or her God-given talent on one day of the year is hypocritical.
The Intercol games should be the avenue by which that individual testifies to the world the existence of a supreme being.
This idea is not a copyright one because ideas cannot be. It is all part of the public education process by this writer.