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Belize and Basketball

LettersBelize and Basketball

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Dear Editor,

Shortly after the national Under 17 basketball team won third place here in Belize in the international competition last year, the Belize Basket Association went on a media blitz informing Belizeans of the plans for the team moving forward, since they were qualified to the tournament in Argentina. There big plan was to traverse the continental U.S.A. seeking the best Belizean basketball talent of that age living in the States to invite them to tryouts to see if they could make the team. Apparently, the best basketball minds in the country thought that was a brilliant idea.

Today we are reaping the result of that grandiose plan. In team sport, the reality is that you could assemble the best talents available and put on a team, but if there is no cohesion or chemistry, their success will be limited. Especially when you’re performing at the highest level.

This Under 18 team that represented the Jewel in Argentina had all the attributes to matchup with any team in the world. Unfortunately, it’s the organizational structure that continues to fail. The concept of sending a selection of players instead of a team to these tournaments has been plaguing us for generations. This is not rocket science. We are not assembling the Dream Team. Every country knows that training and working out as a team is pivotal. It’s what you put in, you get out. In Belize we prefer glamour and quick fix.

This team had two sets of coaches in one year, so there is no organizational structure and program that the players could commit to. If the best players on the team live in different states in America, how many hours of practice do they have as a team? It is impossible for any team to work out only for a month and win tournaments.

How about the physical condition of the players? You also must be in top shape to play and dominate the competition. Regrettably, these are the factors that caused our team’s demise in Argentina.

To rectify this calamity, we must begin from home. Organizational structure, training, practice, workout must be developed and sustained here in country. We must create an enabling environment for our young athletes to realize their ultimate potential. Until then, we will continue to remain cellar dwellers in these tournaments. 

J. Alvarez

(AMANDALA Ed. Note: Well said, brother! And for all those reasons, we have to applaud the effort and the performance of those young men who, despite all the handicaps you listed, still were not a pushover at this prestigious tournament, and even caused a stir. They didn’t fail us. If anything, we failed them, we meaning our national official system that routinely under-finances our national teams.)

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