By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WOW. It’s hard to believe that we just completed the first week in the new year.
It seems like it was just yesterday that we were talking about the controversy that once again marred cultural expression of junkanoo at the Boxing Day parade and the introduction of the much anticipated national tax called VAT.
Today, we launch a new column dubbed: ‘The Finish Line,’ which will allow us to take a retrospect of the sporting activities that transpired during the past week and take a sneak preview into the week ahead.
‘The Finish Line’ intends to put a provocative spin on our local sporting world and raise the level of expectations as we transgress from one level to the next.
The week that was
AS we unveiled 2015, the emphasis was on VAT and how it will transform our lives. Sports took a backseat as the administrators took the spotlight over the athletes with more disclosure about the expectations for 2015 than the performances coming off the Christmas break.
It seems as if this is going to be a year that we could look for some changes in the offices of some of the prominent sporting organisations with the election of officers on the agenda.
And there are a number of international sporting events that will be coming to our shores where the focus will be on sports tourism as the Bahamas stands to become the mecca of the Caribbean and indeed the region.
This week, there are two visiting teams in from Canada, who are occupying the Betty Kelly Kenning Swim Complex. Unfortunately, their appearance is hampering the local swim clubs from using the facilities for training, especially at a critical time when the Bahamas Swimming Federation is preparing its national team to defend their title at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Barbados over the Easter holiday weekend.
Let there be peace
COMING out of the festive season, we would hope that there is a more amicable agreement reached between the federation and the National Sports Authority so that the local clubs are not inconvenienced in their training. After all, the stadium was a gift to the Bahamian swimmers by the late Kelly-Kenning and they should be allowed to use the facility without any hindrance.
I quite understand the rational by the NSA to utilise the facilities and those in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre and the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex to generate funding as they are mandated to operate in the best manner possible. But a compromise should be made to include the local swimmers and all Bahamian athletes, in general, in all sporting activities that are staged in the complexes.
Talking about complexes, this is the year that the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture are expected to start construction on the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium, which was demolished, along with the Churchill Tener Knowles National Softball Stadium, in the process to construct the new Andre Rodgers National Stadium.
While we wait to see exactly when the work will commence, all eyes will be on the agreement that was made last year by the Bahamas Baseball Association and the Bahamas Baseball Federation to end a two decade dispute that has affected the progress of the sport, coupled with the fact that there has been no alternative venue to play night league baseball for the senior players, many of whom have either decided to switch to play softball or have retired.
During his expectations for 2015, federation president Craig ‘Salty’ Kemp indicated that they will honour the commitment made with association president James ‘Jim’ Wood before he died in December. Kemp indicated that they owe it to Wood to carry out the promise they sealed with the stroke of the pen to bring the two separated baseball bodies together for the purpose of selecting the national team to compete at the international level.
HOOPING IT UP
THE year ended up with the Providence Basketball Tournament for senior high schools and the new year began with the return of the New Providence Basketball Association, satisfying the appetite of the advert big ball fan. This is the time of the year when you can pick, choose or refuse to watch basketball on both the local and international front.
For those who care to do so here at home, the NPBA has lined up some exciting games every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights at the AF Adderley Gymnasium. With five teams in two divisions, there’s a lot of parity with anyone capable of pulling off an upset.
The Commonwealth Bank Giants are the defending champions and the Mail Boat Cybots are the runners-up. However, the Real Deal Shockers, the Patron Regulators, the PJ Stingers and the Y-Care Wreckers are all making a bid for the playoffs and a chance to win this year’s title and represent the NPBA in the Bahamas Basketball Federation’s National Round Robin Championships at the end of April.
The New Providence Women’s Basketball Association kicked off a preseason tournament this week at the DW Davis Gymnasium and with a new administration in place, they are looking forward to getting their season started on Saturday, January 17. Mynez Cargill-Sherman, the initial president when the league broke away from the NPBA, has her work cut out for her and her executive team that includes Penial Bain as first vice president and Samantha Culmer-Kemp as secretary.
We’ll take a further look at the NPWBA in our next edition.