Former officials remember when schools sports were mandatory, hints ministry should resume the practice

Members of the Antigua Girls High School under-15 football team celebrates their triumph in the 2019 competition. (File photo)
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By Neto Baptiste

Two former sports administrators believe that the country should model school sports after the period where a student’s participation was mandatory.

Former vice president of the West Indies Cricket Board, Clarvis Joseph and former treasurer of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Hyram Forde, who both attended the Antigua Grammar School (AGS), said sports should not be optional for today’s students.

“Once you go to the Antigua Grammar School, you play sports; you don’t have any choice. So, in other words when it’s football term, it’s football, when it’s cricket term, it’s cricket, when it’s athletics term, it’s athletics and everybody has to contribute to the house and house points so you have no choice,” Joseph said.

“I remember when I came home and I enrolled my son into the St Joseph’s Academy and I went to the first meeting with the brothers. I asked my son what kind of sporting equipment he needed and he told me that sports was optional and I was totally flabbergasted because I had never heard that one in my life,” he added.

Joseph continued that back in the day, there were consequences for those students who did not attend sessions after school.

“You go home from school at 3 o’clock and come back at 4 o’clock [for games] and if you’re late you get a detention. We lived down Popeshead Street and Point and so forth, or you live in Gray’s Farm, you had to run go home a 3 o’clock and run come back because at 4 o’clock and you’re not there then it is detention in your tail,” he said.

Meanwhile Forde, who was also principal of the Antigua State College (ASC), said that although he was not the best track and field athlete, he had to make his contribution during house competitions.

“I went to the Antigua Grammar School between 1968 and ‘75 because I went to sixth form and that was the culture. Every boy who went to the grammar school had to play some form of sports because you had to contribute to your house. I was never a good athlete in the sense of athletics and I had to run the mile in order to give my house a standard point,” the former WICB scorer said.

Today, students are not required to represent their schools in any sport while schools are not mandated to compete in all competitions put on by the Ministry of Sports.

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