Last Saturday, I gave support to my daughter Sanian at the Tribe 2018 Carnival band launch - festival of the bands. Sanian, a former national youth tennis player, has an entrepreneurial bent and has launched an ambitious fashion and design business concept called “Sanianitos”.
With my priority along with other family members firmly focused on supporting “Sanianitos” I found myself at the St Mary’s College Grounds in St Clair where thousands turned out to experience the Tribe carnival band launch.
Let me congratulate Tribe and the St Mary’s College authorities for ensuring that the party didn’t damage the cricket and main football pitch. It reflected the recognition that fete and party mustn’t impact negatively on sport priorities and that with proper planning and respect, sport don’t have to suffer at the hands of Carnival and in fact they both can coexist.
Dean Ackin and the Tribe family of bands are redefining the concept of carnival with verve, an entrepreneurial spirit and fearless ethos -taking on the challenge from those who are comfortable with maintenance of the status quo and that they encourage and guide young people with different ideas.
In many aspects sport stakeholders can take important lessons from Dean Ackin and Tribe.
It’s easy to criticise and denigrate and it ought not to surprise anyone that individuals or groups who see opportunity in doing things differently will always be criticised and be on the receiving end of vitriol.
It’s important for the future of T&T that we encourage not only youth and young people but individuals regardless of age, colour or creed who see things differently and are willing to innovate and interpret old traditions differently.
The relevance to sport in T&T cannot be understated.
I noted a number of former youth athletes, men and women, who participated in various sports and who no longer for whatever reason participate in sporting activities now, engaging in other creative endeavours such as fashion, music and art.
It would be interesting to see research done to identify the reasons why sporting talent seem to be a fit with music, art and fashion.
When you listen, you realise that the unwavering support and encouragement our young people and youth need isn’t always forthcoming.
Criticism, negativity and the denigrating of the effort and ambition of our nation’s youth and young people is prevalent. At times even hostile and mean spirited.
Only a few days ago an adult shared with me their opinion that it was a waste of money sending such a large team to the Youth Commonwealth Games in Bahamas.
Nothing I said seemed to convince the angry adult to consider investing in the youth and young people as important. Why do people see it necessary to be so unfeeling and uncaring about putting action before talk in respect of our country’s youth and young people?
There is the view that our youth and young people get things too easy. It is a perspective I don’t share nor support. We need to support aspiring youth and young people.
The Commonwealth Youth Games in the context of the future is an investment. Our youth and young people who are on positive and constructive endeavours need support. And the support required isn’t only financial.
The nation’s youth and young people matter. Sport stakeholders have more in common with the Carnival and cultural family than some may discern.
•Editor’s Note: Brian Lewis is the President of the T&T Olympic Committee and the views expressed are not necessary those of the organisation.