LETTER OF THE DAY - Talent abounds - let's capture it!
The Editor, Sir:
The now world-renowned school athletics championships is over. We have again demonstrated that we are tops at moulding young bodies - products of the sprint factory of the world. In the past, the United States was tops at producing finished goods, then came the Japanese and now the Chinese have taken the lead.
As we lag way behind in production of goods, we are leaders in the production of not only the world's fastest human being, but male and female athletes who are revered internationally. The great sports goods producers find it a big boost for us to wear their logos.
What are the lessons to be learnt from all of this achievement? It makes nonsense of our need to have so many young men and boys using the gun rather than their God-given talents. Last week, the National Stadium was the only place in Jamaica where 30,000 young people could assemble for four days, with the only gun in use being the starter's gun. I recall that when one of our girls struck gold, the camera had on-show her inner-city community celebrating. It was a great show of an otherwise alienated group being proud of their own.
But I was also very mindful that she had to move out of that community in order to survive the constant gun battle there. I also knew that she missed being one of those young girls who could have been summoned to attend on the local don to satisfy his lust for power and pleasure.
The Championships have over the years opened up new opportunities to young Jamaicans whose schools were hitherto before unknown to the city-based elitist schools' athletics competition. Usain's school, William Knibb, was little known prior to his entry on the world stage of great men. Asafa's school, Charlemont, was no different. Now their achievements have reminded us that talent is by no means confined to any particular class, city school or known family name in Jamaica.
It is my fervent wish that our adults who parent the young of this country will learn from our athletic prowess and hold hands with their children, and have them study as hard as our athletes train, keep away from drugs as our athletes must, listen to their teachers as our athletes do their coaches and compete with their minds and not their knives.
We should not be the crime factory and the sprint factory of the world at one and the same time. Sad to say, but true it is, our achievement in athletics is 'politician free'; our answer to our academic, production and crime problem can be solved from the root up when one day, another great son of Sheerwood Content, like that of Trench Town, will rise up and put us on the map with the use of his God-given talent.
I am, etc.,
Bert S. Samuels