I have had some privileges afforded to me in my career in sport and I am eternally grateful. And certainly in my numerous capacities, I know it is necessary to share with others in formal and informal situations where I can. I am also lucky to be a teacher, so therefore I have the classroom as my outlet. One of the realities of life is knowledge is power, only if you share it to make a positive impact.
So I have listened, read and heard numerous comments about the athletes' performances on and off the track and I am appalled, but somehow, better educated and informed about the expectations of people in a society like ours where the opinion is fact. However, not until you have worked in the environment, then assumptions are entirely out of place. As I always suggest, if you do not know...ask.
I would hasten to add, that still in 2011, there are some sections of our society who see sports as an outlet for people with nothing else to do and with that premise it is neither important and does not require any kind of hard work and dedication at all. So those of us who have sacrificed and defied the odds by competing or helping to guide those who compete are making sure we cover all bases.
The balance is being created by the BUSINESS OF SPORT, as significant earnings can take place and are taking place and people are making a living from Sport so the requisite training, management and discipline and maintenance is required.
Getting to the point. There are some people who wield a lot of influence in Jamaica and have used that influence to their own cause - nothing wrong with that; but also do not be quick to judge, especially if you are not familiar with the specifics. Those who write should write to empower. Those who speak should speak to empower and those who lead should lead to empower.
None of the athletes or artistes I must add, go out of their way to do anything to demean or undermine their profession, family, country and should be accepted as such; the creative outlet however, limited to the sport or music can cause overwhelming emotions to act 'out of accordance' with standard rules. And so my dear friends, use your influence to impact on the sector, which is obviously one of the most positive for Jamaica to help an athlete or an artiste. Volunteer. Offer your professional services. Bring back the community spirit to Jamaica.
The bearers of standards in Jamaica have shifted and the creative people are low hanging fruits (easy to pick) so they are heavily scrutinised. Our comparisons are a corrupt law enforcement system and justice system; white collar crimes; biased media, so the pickings become easy. Learn from those of us who have been in the trenches and help us grow. Most of us are willing to grow.
As we approach 50 years of political independence, I ask how independent are we really? We seem stuck in some kind of colonial past and won't get out of the little box we have been placed in. That is dangerous and counterproductive to any kind of growth.
I have avoided being specific, but I think the message is clear.