Thurs. Aug. 3, 2023
It was a treat to have been a witness to the international under-17 men basketball competition held at the Belize City Center last week. The feeling was nostalgic as I reminisced about a great time I had playing basketball at that age many moons ago. Congratulation is in order for these young men who represented the Jewel, winning the bronze medal in this tournament. It was impressive to see the skills and talent of these youths playing the game at such a high level. We surely are at a great place when it comes to sports in Belize. I’m pleased to know that our young people have taken up the mantle and have embraced the opportunity to represent the country, delivering great results.
The other sporting disciplines must also be applauded for doing great things at the regional and international tournaments as well. Like all Belizeans, and as a sports enthusiast, I’m also very proud of our young Belizean athletes. Whilst we celebrate their success, we must also come to terms with the fact that there is plenty of room for improvement. With a little more preparation, this team could have won the gold. Whilst everything seems to have been in favor of our squad, such as skills, talent, the environment, and fan support, two very important factors were lacking. Those were cohesion and chemistry. Let’s stop kicking the can down the road and pretend we are not aware of what needs to be done to get our young hopefuls over the hump in these tournaments. Team chemistry, which is vital for success, only comes with players working together for an extended period of time; the longer a team trains and plays together, the better they become.
We need to stop creating pick-up teams and/or selections. If we can’t assemble a team and have them train together for at least 6 months, then they should not be qualified to represent the country. This concept will embrace the local talent. Our Belizean imports will then come in to fill the gap and support the already existing structure and program. It’s time that we start to win these tournaments and stop settling for mediocrity.
Finally, we have seen major development and improvement in our sporting facilities across the country in the last 10 years. These stadiums could also host these games. Maybe the association could consider having some of these games played in other parts of the country. I’m sure that people living outside of the city would appreciate and enjoy these games in their neck of the woods. It could be very inspirational for our young people. Let’s not just be a participant in these sporting events; it’s time to win them all.