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Feb 20, 1998

G. Michael Reid on regional sports

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Sports is a subject never far from the mind of News Five commentator G. Michael Reid… and tonight he’s back on familiar territory.

For those who like myself didn’t know, but were ashamed to ask, CARICOM is an acronym for Caribbean Community. Interestingly enough and geographically speaking, Belize is not even part of the Caribbean Community. We are in Central America, and if we’re not, then why did we just spend two hundred thousand dollars in sending athletes to the games for that region? And at such cost can we really afford to be in more than one place at the same time. We are now of course, committed to spending another five hundred thousand on this upcoming CARICOM event and in actuality there’s no telling how high the final cost will really be. What with the athletes staying at the Biltmore and everything and according to an Amandala of February Eighth of this year, one of the demands of the committee is that there be no more than one person to a bed. Maybe we should share with these folks, our recent experience in Honduras! Anyway, we’re talking twenty teams here at fifteen players per, plus coaches, trainers, managers, international referees and foreign dignitaries. Multiply this by Biltmore’s prices and you know what, I think I need a bigger calculator.

In a television interview last week, Clyde Donkey Young informed us that three hundred thousand dollars had already been approved and earmarked for the purchasing of a new court. This court of course, comes complete with a few trimmings. That is, a couple of rims, some uniforms and a half dozen basketballs. I guess this is kinda like what Kriol use to call brata, but bredda for that kinda dough, seems like we shoulda also get sample.

And now of course, the civic will have to undergo major renovations and help me here, but isn’t this a little like putting the cart before the horse. Wouldn’t it have been better to fix this atrocity first, then think about a court. And contrary to what these folks seem to be getting ready to do, the civic needs more than just a little neverleak here and there! This place is a disaster and will require extensive work. The bathrooms are disgraceful, the seating primitive and without a proper ventilating or cooling system, how long do you think this fancy new court last? But like common folks trying to make an impression, we scurry to clean up before the guest arrive and one wonders if even Castro went as far when he found out that the Pope was on his way? An in comparison couldn’t these athletes be considered just a bunch of choir boys? I mean no disrespect of course, but its not like you?re getting Michael! And speaking of his royal airness, did you hear? When approached the idea of visiting Belize, M.J. is alleged to have responded. “I’m not going anywhere where there isn’t a golf course and a casino.” And to think I spend much of my free time watching this guy. Anyway, here’s another one you might like. In a conversation with Pulu Lightburn this week he dropped a comment about discussions being held with a hopeful minister about plans to construct a casino and golf course in San Pedro. And then you wonder why I wanna be like Mike.

Anyway, speaking of basketball, the Belize District Basketball Association kicks off it’s season this Friday, which is tonight if you’re getting this live and these guys are in need of our support. After spying on a few of the teams at practice, I assuredly apprise you, that the intensity of this competition will equal anything ever presented by Semi Pro. These guys are playing for the love of the sport and the major distraction of money is not present. I think we can look forward to a fun and exciting season.

Now as most people already know, by the year 2000 we will have put into effect a copyright law. The area most affected will be television and all these free NBA games will probably not be available. It seems therefore imperative that we take steps to put into place a way to provide our own entertainment. What better venue than sports?

Sports in Belize, however, is in a bad way and as our Monday night sportscast prognostically suggest, it needs more energy! The first place to begin this healing process will have to be in our schools where the importance and significance of sports has long been overlooked. I must say however that I am a little encouraged at the effort being presented this year, especially at the high school level and as we speak, the schools are embroiled in intense football rivalries at the National Stadium. The National Stadium of course is another story and we could talk all day about this one, but what good will it do? It would be nice however, to at least see the track get covered so that our promising young athletes of track and field can have a decent place to train. High school softball, which just recently completed an exiting albeit very short season, is also showing much promise, especially for the boys who I would hope will one day switch to the more masculine sport of baseball.

At all the games I have attended however, I have found one very important thing to be conspicuously missing. At very few of these games have I seen any parents. What is it, are we not proud of our children? Or is it that we really have so many other and better things to do?

For sports to improve in this country, it will take an absolute dedication on the part of our children and an active support on the part of parents. Please, do take time to give our children some support. Remember, every kid that’s on a team, is one less likely to be in a gang.

With the Last Word, G. Michael Reid.

The opinions expressed on the Last Word are those of G. Michael Reid and not necessarily those of Channel Five. 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.

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