Monday, 5 August 2013

The Dangers of Playing Basketball In La Clery


In the name of the game and of the sport and of the final score, Amen.
Let us plaaaaaaay….

Sports in St Lucia are not just a game. They are a joke. The only thing that works are the athletes. And then, when you look at things from their point of view. There’s no laughing anymore.

Take  the VBCC basketball court in Vide Bouteille:

Days after rain....DAYS!

VBCC is one of the classic clubs of St Lucian history. For a long time, it was practically the government of La Clery and surrounding areas – a model of community organization. It’s football field is a neglected woman who keeps breeding potentially great children.  Its name is legend in the history of national sports, clubs, the youth, culture and even politics. It was and still is a magnet and a breeding ground for excellent things and people.

Its basketball court….brakes…hold up, hold up….that’s the VBCC basketball court? The legendary and immortal VBCC? That can’t be….

The guys who have to play on that court laugh to prevent themselves from crying.

“If you want to drive/play, you just have to do what you have to do. So felluz just drive around it.”

“For it to be really dry it has to sunny for weeks.”

“It’s cracked because the water in the pools seeped into the pitch at the bottom and….what? Why is  there pitch at the bottom of the…that’s a whole nuther story, brudda.”

Simply put, the VBCC basketball court is not level. Playing basketball there is like giants playing b-ball, using St Lucia for a court, instead of Barbados.
Heard about fighting fire  with fire? Well...

“The dirt collects those areas where the water pools. Then it gets slippery in those areas. Sometimes I think  there have more holes in that than flat.”

Sports infrastructure and organization for local athletes in St Lucia is an insult. But for basketball, it is especially dangerous because b-ballers are an endangered species in St Lucia.

There has never been an actual plan. We’ve built facilities as though facilities would spur an industry on. But they don’t. Training does. Scholarships do. District and national games that create an atmosphere of excellence, championship and the very human lust for glory.

Facilities mean nothing to locals at the national level because they’re designed fore regional and international games. And they’re priced that way too. A national complex of small sheltered courts and playing fields would be 1000% more helpful to athletes than any stadium ever could.

A facility that costs a thousand dollars a night doesn’t help athletes. It actually oppresses them. It’s a frigging obstacle to development. How the hell did something made by Chinese end up so damned expensive anyway? Our sports facilities MUST BE the most expensive things ever manufactured by the Chinese in the whole damned world.

“You know how in the universal rights of the child, kids have to be free to have an education and free to have access to potable water and shit like that. Well, in St Lucia, athletes have no rights. You are not free to play.

“Saturday,  I was playing on to court there. I was scared. I’m in my 30s. I have a bad knee.” Meaning, he’s young enough to play. He’s young enough to have the desire to play. “But I’m too old to injure myself again.”

Furthermore, how about a roof?
This shit is serious.

“I’ve watched fellas slide on that, flying in mid-air. If it was just ugly, fine. But it’s not safe.”

Then there’s Beausejour. The indoor court. They don’t clean it. And the price. A thousand a night. You think a little sports club can afford that.

Outdoor facilities leave sports events at the mercy of the weather. And it doesn’t even take a whole day of rain. 15 minutes of lapli will end a whole day event. No vending, no playing, no use sponsoring. Just one big fail.

It’s like playing basketball on the rocks by the beach. It might as well be moss growing on rocks under their feet. And that’s the whole metaphor. Athletes in St Lucia are playing on an un-level playing field. Playing against the odds. With slippery pitfalls.

The St Lucian sub-contractor worked for a foreign company. Gros Islet’s court was also done by him.
“Bro, the court isn’t level,” he was told when the foundation of the court started going on.

“I’ll fix it.”

Later, “Dread, that court ain’t level.” The pitch of the second layer will level it out.

“Dude, that court the wrong length.”

“It’s US High School Basketball Standards.”

“We’re not American and if we were, we wouldn’t be high school level. We’re FIBA. ”

“Ok, gimme the right length and the markings.”

“Asshole, you still got the markings wrong even though you had the drawings in your hands.”

“Don’t tell me nothing again. I eh working for you.”

Renovations started early 2012. Three months ago,  new PS Fortuna Belrose was complained to again.
“Really. And we just paid that guy.”
Dammit, eh!

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