Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Commentary » G. Michael Reid has the Last Word
Jun 11, 1999

G. Michael Reid has the Last Word

Story Picture
Tonight on the Last Word G. Michael Reid looks at the most popular sports in Belize and why our young athletes must be encouraged and supported.

Sports has never been high on the priority list of any government in Belize and for a long time it’s sole purpose seemed to have been, to provide all expense paid trips for certain select individuals. Whenever invitations to sporting events in other lands were accepted, criteria for the selection process leaned more towards popularity than dexterity. Two definitive qualifiers were for one’s family to be in open support of whichever party was in power, or for an applicant to be of Belizean blue blood. A Young or a Longsworth was a sure go, but a Jones or a Davis. . .I don’t know. Consequently, we were rarely represented by our best talent and invariably, it reflected in our performance. Time after time we were embarrassed and used as whipping boy and even in the most regional of tournaments, our contingents would return after setting world records for worst performances ever. Happy to say that these days, there seems to be a change afoot.

To their credit, this government of the day seems to have shifted significant emphasis to sports and while there is quite a lot that will have to be done; it is encouraging to realize that we are at least, making a move in the right direction. There is concern of course; that too much of this emphasis is being placed on basketball, but if referendum is to be answered by attendance, then the record will show that basketball does pull a crowd. Basketball of course, did not just now get popular in Belize, for way back in the days of Natious and even before Pulu Lightburn, Frankie Flowers and Sonny Meighan were lighting up the whites on Euphrates. Long before Sprewell or Iverson or even Jordan came along, we had Mugger and Neal and Eusey and you see, basketball has pretty much paid it’s dues. So has softball of course, which brought us much glory a couple of decades ago, but I believe that we can take this one sport at a time. Semi Pro and Senior Basketball will begin their finals this weekend and once the basketball season is over, maybe we can turn some attention to softball. Football fortunately, is doing pretty well on it’s own thank you, thanks to a half a million per year grant from FIFA. Let us hope that ethics and integrity will withstand temptation and that the bounty will be spent to its fullest frugality.

Now it seems that the marriage between basketball and volleyball has been annulled and just as well, for these two didn’t have much in common anyway; except, that they shared a common court. The year is twelve months long however, and with only these two sports to jostle for use of the City Center, then no reason why each cannot be given it’s own season. And if either of these two sport should have precedence over the other, then it will have to be basketball, which is infinitely more popular and appeals to the full gamut of society. From the aspiring gang banger who tries to dribble and shoot with one hand while holding up his pants with the other, to the politician and bureaucrats who to date, have dumped bucci money into the revival of semi pro basketball. Volleyball on the other hand, while a legitimate sport and quite popular among the aristocrats, has a much smaller following who do not exactly sellout the arena on a regular basis. With the NBA also presenting a significant playoff match tonight, one wonders if maybe volleyball could not have stepped aside and allowed basketball to rescheduled for Saturday night so that the many fans could have had the best of both worlds. When we consider the many who flock to see lay-ups and slam dunks as opposed to the few who enjoy spikes and sets, and if majority must indeed rule, then it seem that basketball should get priority. Some volleyball enthusiasts were enraged when I commented about their refusal to relinquish the court to the Coach Greenwood and our boys when they needed to practice before the recent tournament in Cuba. Yes they had already scheduled their games, but this was the National Team for crying out loud, and it was only for just one weekend. Maybe it is time we look at the bigger picture.

Nevertheless, basketball forges on and its popularity continues to grow and while they certainly did not sell out every contest this season, it is obvious that there is a market for semi pro. I still believe however, that this success will only be temporary, unless we pay more attention to our youths, from whence must come the future crop of players. There must be adequate sporting facilities in all our schools and what a shame when a school like Grace Primary, with a knack for exposing children to their potential, must stay crammed into a little corner on Amara. If they will fly, then our children must have the room to spread their wings.

With the Last Word, G. Michael Reid.

The views expressed on the Last Word are those of G. Michael Reid and not necessarily those of Channel 5. Viewers comments are welcome.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

You must be logged in to post a comment Login