Sat | Jan 19, 2019

ISSA caught on the back foot

Published:Tuesday | January 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer Patrons in a rush to purchase tickets for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships last year.

A call to the offices of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) seeking tickets for Champs 2015 elicited the response: "Window closed, talk to Mr Corcho and Mrs Montague."

Any sane and rational person alert to the demands of a well-run institution would have thought that the buck stops somewhere. So, to be told that in the context of this globally acclaimed high-school classic Mr What's his name and Mrs What's her name equally hold the reins is ludicrous, as it is downright lacking in good sense. But, wake up to typical ISSA bungling.

This columnist has established a mantra for transparency and fair play. With that in mind and watching the ISSA methods while they hold the reins of the greatest crowdpuller known to the nation, their understanding of both named values is found hopelessly wanting.

Foster's Fairplay has been supporting this now five-day spectacle for 65 years. All that is asked each year is the ability to secure entry through ticket purchases, mainly for overseas colleagues. They come for the sole purpose of just "being there".

Unlike ISSA, who are faced with the high ticket-demand problem each year, they plan in advance.

In any area, be it marriage, incarceration or even sex, or under any other umbrella, extraordinary length of service amounts to overtime. Respect and reward to those who have endured the journey and still survive are mandated. They do not need to be marginalised or sidelined.


The organisers appear to have all the energy, enthusiasm and excitement as showtime nears, but the tools to execute are absent. This is the position in which this columnist sees ISSA. They show little or no respect for the persons who contribute heavily through a variety of conduits, to facilitate and enable their return airfares and accommodation expenses at the Penn Relays Carnival at the end of April each year.

Those occupants of the Linstone Crescent premises need to do a rethink, if in fact their thought processes went into this particular decision in the first instance.

How could it be that you slam the door of Champs activities in the faces of those who keep your ship afloat and, by the governing body's own admission, support your other sports as well? Are they out of their collective minds? Or is it that they have stepped into boots which are too large for a comfortable fit?

For what Champs with its international appeal offers, ISSA needs to market and sell the spectacle for its highest value.

But where is the foresight or expertise to stoke the fires of such progressive and forward-thinking processes?

It does not appear that those attributes, synonymous with and so pivotal to success, lay within the corridors of this ruling body.

One can just imagine and empathise with that innocent little miss of earlier mention, forced to deliver a message not of her own making, but borne of bosses who demonstrate a lack of care for their funding sources.

There must be a better way for patrons to enjoy and revel in the event of their choice. Someone needs to have a good, incisive, dispassionate look at this ISSA slackness and seeming "don't cyah" and fashion a solution which does not embarrass or strip the constantly mushrooming base of patrons of their dignity.

Who wants to have to arrive ticketless and disempowered from lands distant and be consigned to dealing with touts and hustlers?

Is it beyond ISSA to have a list of perennial ticket purchasers and show some regard for their unceasing support by contacting them and accepting orders for tickets?

ISSA needs to decide soon to whom do they owe an alliance that not only improves the image of the event, but most crucially, makes it easier to access, even for the late decision-maker.

n Foster's Fairplay and the world watch.