By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WHEN the new school year begins on Monday, Government Secondary Schools Sports Association president Alfred Forbes doesn’t anticipate any changes in their coaching ranks. But he said the athletes can look forward to a change in the line-up of the disciplines.
The GSSSA, which caters to 12 junior and senior high schools, will be reverting back to their old schedule where volleyball is played first and softball is last on the agenda. This year, however, Forbes said the association will also be making an attempt to introduce baseball into the system for both the junior and senior high school divisions.
“We started last year with softball and ended with volleyball, but this year we will be starting with volleyball and ending with softball,” Forbes said. “Once volleyball is finished, we will move to basketball. Then we will start soccer in January, track and field in February and in April, we will round off with softball.
“We are trying to get baseball in the system for the boys. We are working with the Bahamas Baseball Federation and the Ministry of Sports through Greg Burrows. We are trying to see if we can at least introduce baseball for boys this year. We have been playing softball for too long for boys and there’s no scholarships available for softball for boys.”
Forbes said last year, we went through a trial period to see if they can be in line with the other local high school bodies like the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools and the Grand Bahama High School Sports Association so they could coincide with the hosting of the Bahamas Softball Federation’s annual Austin ‘King Snake’ Knowles High School Softball Tournament.
“We wanted to make sure that all of our teams are prepared for that tournament, which is a major one for the schools. But the availability of the gyms was a difficulty for us at the end of the school year when we played volleyball last year because they were being used for the school examinations,” Forbes said.
“Last year, the volleyball season was so tight. We were only able to play one or two weeks. And with the daylight saving time coming into effect in October, we will have more time for the teams to get to the park when we play at the end of the school year and we won’t be challenged as we were last year.”
By moving softball back to the end of the calendar year, Forbes said the GSSSA will have sufficient time to iron out all of the knits to ensure that they can get ready next year for the introduction of baseball into their system. Hopefully, in the 2014/15 school year, they can look at the inclusion of flag football into their programme.
The GSSSA is expected to begin their new season around the third week in September. However, Forbes said they won’t know for sure if there were any late changes in coaching personnel or any new additions from the recent graduation of teachers from the College of the Bahamas until everybody reports to school on Monday.
In any event, Forbes said based on what happened last year, they don’t anticipate any big coaching movement. “Everything looks to be intact. We came off a good year and so we are looking forward to another successful year,” he said.