Western Grandstand : Of Champs and the unmasking of hypocrisy
I am rather enjoying the ongoing 'cass cass' between supporters of Kingston College and Calabar High School over the decision by the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) to allow 16-year-old Ugandan athlete, Ari Rodgers, to participate in the 2017 ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships.
To me, what it is doing, more than anything else, is exposing the high level of hypocrisy that exists in a society where our so-called intellectuals oftentimes parade themselves as fair and balanced paragons of virtue who are able to split justice, even when the situation is not in their favour.
By virtue of my own experiences, I have long come to the conclusion that the so-called 'capacity to operate above the fray,' which many persons in positions of influence often claim, is a grand lie that regularly gets exposed when personal biases are involved. Even our grandmothers, who we view as the bastions of good values, will still tell you that, 'Parson christen dem pickney fuss.'
It is therefore no surprise to me that the Kingston College supporters see absolutely nothing wrong with ISSA's decision to clear Rodgers to participate in Champs citing extenuating circumstances; while the Calabar fans, presented with the same explanation, see everything wrong with it.
As I stated above, I am rather enjoying the adversarial discourse and the 'spinning' that is unfolding between the KC and Calabar supporters, who have seemingly abandoned rationality and have decided to go for the 'jugular' publicly, unafraid of exposing their respective biases in batting for the interests of their old school.
While Champs is basically about boys and girls, it would appear that the adults, to include school administrators, have drowned them out of the debate and have planted themselves front and centre as the most aggrieved parties. Suddenly, some of them have completely lost faith in the 'right forum' as make themselves full-time participants in what is now a public spectacle.
It really begs a laugh when I see some of the so-called 'voices of reason,' those who are always imploring others to be good role models, abandoning their very own mantra as they hug the public space, unleashing ugliness, albeit laced in intellectual correctness, but still vulgar enough to draw comparisons to a virago in full-flight.
What this entire scenario is telling me is that, despite being of a superior intellectual background to our dancehall artistes, who are often chastised, even vilified, when they use 'inappropriate language' to vent their feelings when they are angry, some of our intellectuals basically have the same attitude to problems, but are able to use their superior mastery of language to cover it.
At the risk of allowing high school sports to become a 'wrecking ball' and a destabilising, if not polarising force, ISSA needs to institute measures to prevent overzealous past students, who are probably in search of belated glory for themselves, from ambushing a product that is meant to help in the all-round development of students.
I see Champs as a fantastic product, probably the most enjoyable track and field spectacle outside of the IAAF World Championships and the Olympic Games. It is a model that the rest of the world is eyeing with some amount of envy and as a consequence, I believe it should be protected at all cost.
Personally, I am looking forward to a fantastic Champs, and I would hate to see the ongoing ugliness filter into the National Stadium.