Sobo Village. Where is it? First left turn just after you pass the Pitch Lake. Last Saturday, the Sobo Village Recreation Ground was the venue for the Flow sponsored Rainbow Sport and Cultural Club community rugby caravan, a programme that targets communities primarily in the south of the twin Island Republic, areas that would not have seen organised rugby before.
The weekend before, the Fanny Village Recreation Ground was the setting and stage for the Flow caravan. The enthusiasm shown by the youths in Sobo Village to sign up for rugby coaching after seeing rugby live for the first time may have come as a surprise even to the always optimistic Rudolph Jack, president of Rainbow Sport and Cultural Club and the architect of the community caravan.
To say that the Sobo Village recreation ground is ideally placed within the community is an understatement. It’s well located. The only negative was the inadequate lighting system. A circumstance the Sobo Village Council needs to address with some urgency. The interest shown by Sobo Village for the Flow sponsored caravan highlighted yet again the importance of the Ministry of Sport, Sport Company and the TTOC continuing to support the geographic spread of sport.
In many ways it would be fair to say that the children and youths of Sobo Village are undeserved by national sport organisations. One can well understand the challenges national sport organisations face. The main one being human and financial resource limitations. But the time has come to critically examine the easy excuse.
Is the lack of financial and human resource the only barrier to the structured and systemic geographic spread of organised sporting activity? Again I must refer to, or reflect on if you prefer, the enthusiastic response by Sobo Village to the Flow and Rainbow Sport and Culture Club community rugby caravan.
Sport leaders need to get out and about. Yes it can be time consuming. To understand both the opportunities and problems facing communities such as Sobo Village and other Villages those who make decisions need to go see for themselves.
It’s not so much about talent identification and long term athlete development. It’s simply about seeing first-hand the pure joy of children and youth at play. It matters not the sport. To see children and youth playing sport for the pure joy of playing is well worth the drive, time and energy. The challenge facing programmes such as the Flow caravan is one of continuity and sustainability.
How do national sport organisations provide children and youths in the villages and communities through the length and breadth of T&T with the access and chance to participate in safe, secure and well organised sporting activity? Driving through Sobo Village on the way to the Sobo Village recreation ground may be a revelation.
To all those dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly in the various villages and communities through this twin island republic... be encouraged. Yours may be a thankless and frustrating endeavour, but making a positive difference in the lives of the nation’s children is priceless. Even as I wrote the previous sentence I felt a sense of frustration even hopelessness because the first hand reality is stark.
More must be done. Where there is a will there is a way. Let’s not lose hope even though it may seem that it is getting harder and harder every day.