Editorial: Our sporting goals

World soccer’s executive elites are on island this week, bringing with them a boost to the Cayman Islands’ sports tourism efforts.

The country has had success lately in that realm, thanks in no small part to Cayman’s Jeffrey Webb, who is vice president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). For example, Cayman has recently played host to a regional under-15 soccer tournament, a track and field meet featuring stars such as Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, and, of course, scheduled events such as the annual Flowers Sea Swim.

As we’ll hear during this week’s CONCACAF sports summit, encouraging sports tourism is a smart idea, and promoting a culture of sports is one way to reduce crime, unite communities, promote national pride and encourage good health.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

As Mr. Webb points out, there’s a logical limit to Cayman’s sports tourism ambitions. No one would dispute that this tiny country is not likely to host a World Cup. However, Mr. Webb says that with investments over years, Cayman should be able to host more realistic but still significant major international tournaments.

On a related note, public spending on local sports should also be done judiciously. Cayman’s potential to produce true world-class athletes is limited, statistically, by the size of the population.

We shouldn’t encourage our children to fall into the trap – pervasive in poor U.S. urban areas – of betting their futures on the unlikely possibility that they will develop into world-class professional athletes. Academics for young people are far more important – and determinative of success in life – than athletics.

Nevertheless, sports are a way to keep children engaged in school and maybe even help them get scholarships to top academic colleges and universities. For the vast majority of our athletes, however, sports should be viewed as an enabler, not a career path.

And so, let us continue to encourage Caymanians to participate in sports, and, for our economy, to attempt to grow sports tourism as an increasing contributor to our economy.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Nevertheless, sports are a way to keep children engaged in school and maybe even help them get scholarships to top academic colleges and universities. For the vast majority of our athletes, however, sports should be viewed as an enabler, not a career path.

    And the all-knowing editors at Caycompass has arbitrarily and unilaterally decided this on behalf of Cayman’s youth ?

    If Cydonie Mothersill’s parents had taken this approach, would the athletics world know of her and her achievements today ?

    If the Fraser brothers parents had accepted this advice, would Cayman have any Olympic representatives in the swimming pool ?

    There are many children being told this very same thing in the academic fields as well, so that they can give up on their dreams and make it easier for their competitors in the classroom…so they are not motivated to study harder, get good grades and qualify for those scholarships.

    So they cannot get good jobs…and their birthrights being taken by others.

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  2. For the vast majority of our athletes, however, sports should be viewed as an enabler, not a career path.

    And this is exactly what was used to destroy the dreams and football careers of Cayman’s best-ever generation of young footballers as well.

    With many of them ending up in Northward Prison instead.

    So what is Cayman’s football left with now ?

    A ‘superstar’ football administrator…and no credible football players or game to speak of.

    Little Sebastian Martinez had better not be paying any mind to this editorial if he intends to make a football career for himself at Swindon Town FC…

    Nor any of his Cayman U15 team-mates…and their parents…

    If they intend to follow in his footsteps.

    I would advise all talented sports-oriented youngsters in Cayman…and their parents, to totally ignore this editorial altogether…

    And go after their dreams and make them a reality.

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