Dr Cliff Bertrand

Dr Cliff Bertrand

Commentary by Dr Cliff Bertrand

The writing is on the wall. The powers that be have not found it necessary to create a farm system. The result will be catastrophic, because of this unconcealed behavior. When the emphasis is on money and trips and not replenishing the harvest plan creates an incongruity. There are no athletic reserves in the trenches.T&T is living beyond her limited options.

The issue here is that the following organisations have lost their vision. The poignant question remains: Beyond 2016, what then?

People at times create limitations in their lives, based on personal experiences and predetermined knowledge. The future of Trinidad & Tobago Track & Field should focus on restructuring the system. Our current model is structured with divergent players. There is the TTOC, the conduit to the Olympic Movement; the NAAA, which has among its functions, the development of athletics, its promotion and organisation in Trinidad & Tobago, TUTTA, whose teachers organize the district, zone, and national championships for the primary schools, the secondary school sports are organized and managed by their association. UWI, UTT, and clubs are independent operators under the auspices of the NAAA affiliate coaches. The Sports Company, the Ministry of Sports, the Ministry of Education, each provide logistical and other support for track meets, the private sector is becoming increasingly engaged in the system. The system will cease to produce effective elite athletes after the 2016 Olympics.

The Ministry of Sports and The Ministry of Education possesses the functional authority and power structure that can impact the other entities. Classification is not ranked or centralized; there is no single party with the expertise to guide the behavior of the other organisations. This assumption does not undermine the policy making roles of the NAAA, NSOs, and the Sports Company.

Dr Patrick Robinson of Jamaica in his book “Jamaican Athletics” says that the Jamaican “system operates on at a level of organization that allows each party space and flexibility its sphere.” Visual and research observations indicates that Jamaica currently presents a model in athletics for the world. One wonders about the indefatigable depth of their oceanic talent production.

The homestead system

Now, the question, why is Trinidad & Tobago after operating in this way over decades is going to perform at a sub-international level after Rio 2016? This calls for a revisit and subsequent revision of the T&T model where individual expressions and team accomplishments are celebrated as a virtue. No thought given to neither supportable maintenance resources nor meaningful progressive conversations held among the parties involved. Sustainability is not about doing without. It’s about doing more with less and working together to become co-producers of resources.

The Trinidad & Tobago mal- functioning model is lessening the ability of future generations to meet and become active participants in the worldwide farm sustainability revolution.  These leading organisations must discuss concrete strategies toward providing for self-sustenance and reducing institutional conflicts, without compromising the resources of future generations.

No excuses: existentialism and the meaning of life, more than a half-century after it burst on the intellectual scene. Existentialism continues to question responsibility, morality, and personal freedom.

Explore this philosophical movement, the thinkers who pondered these questions and the role existentialism still plays. No subject is bigger than reality itself, and nothing is more challenging to understand Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Track & Field podium appearance beyond 2016 is questionable.

Separating the real from the illusory is an exhilarating intellectual adventure not discussed within the ranks of athleticism in Trinidad & Tobago. However, to ignore declining American interest in our national athletic program patterns is a grave mistake not to be ignored but to remedy. Examine the patterns of history and deduce lessons on the how to succeed as a national force. Tour the many sides of the data information resource. This is changing everything from marketing to how to put data into action to resolve the budding problem of the athletic decline in T&T.

1 – Embrace diverse doctrines embracing analysis of individual existence and performance in an unfathomable talent force field.

2- Addressed without reservation those ultimately responsible for the coming draught in track & field.

3 – Adopt the “Banana Model” concept where “Left to nature, the suckers growing from a banana rhizome compete to replace the spent pseudostem. The production of bananas from the rapidly growing banana plants begins to fall off after the fourth year. The plant yields bananas for about five to six years, after which growers dig up the rhizome.”

4- Abort “the Balata Model” of uncertain growth and production within an eight year cycle.

5- Have an independent organization conducted auditing for every major contribution by the IOC.

About Dr Cliff Bertrand

Dr Cliff Bertrand is fortunate to have been on both sides of the sporting and education divide, as a Trinidad & Tobago Olympian and a New York City School Administrator. He did his undergraduate work at New York University, graduate work at Brooklyn College, New York University and Columbia University where he accumulated quite a vocabulary of experiences. Arima-born and bred, Dr Bertrand was moulded at Arima Boys RC, Ideal and Progressive High Schools, where he excelled in football and track. He was a member of the only West Indies team which took part in the 1960 Rome Olympics and returned four years later at the Tokyo Games, Japan, as a member of the T&T team. He was also the founder of the Abilene Wildcats Athletic Club and a former NCAA Division One head coach.

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of GrenadaSports.

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