Today’s Editorial April 01: High school sports competition applauded

The recent Inter-High School Track and Field Championships were a welcome development for the Cayman Islands sports scene.

Sports competition between Cayman high schools is nothing new, of course.

But the effort by Government to further energize and formalize the concept is a good move.

High school rivalries are the lifeblood of sports in many countries.

Neighbouring Jamaica, for example, has a thriving culture of high school sports competition and it pays huge dividends.

Jamaica’s extraordinary success in international track and field at the highest levels owes a lot to the passions that are sparked and kindled at the grassroots level when young students race against rival schools.

The United States offers another nearby example of how competition between high schools can uplift sports.

Many American high schools are so developed and so committed to competition that they are virtual farm systems for professional leagues.

Of course with higher stakes come increased pressure to win and more temptation to lose sight of what high school sports should be about.

Winning is important, of course, but so to is maintaining a sensible culture of fairness and responsibility.

As Cayman’s youth sports culture intensifies, as it inevitably will with the increase of high school competitions, coaches, administrators and parents must keep their eyes on the ball to ensure that it does not run amok at the expense of young athletes.

Fierce competition between high schools likely will lift local sports to unimagined heights.

The playing fields of Cayman will take on a much more serious tone when school pride is on the line.

Imagine the intensity of two Cayman Islands high schools battling for national football supremacy, for example.

It is no secret that competition brings out the best in athletes.

When Cayman’s young athletes are fighting to earn spots on their school teams and waging all-out wars to win high school championships, this country will be on the road to producing world-class athletes at a pace like we have never seen before.