New baseball dimension for government schools
Published: May 21, 2013
A Nassau Guardian article by Kelsie Johnson, published recently, informed of an important milestone for the curriculum in government schools. The story disclosed the agreement between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and two major sporting federations.
With Deputy Director of Education Ross Smith, Education Sports Unit Director Evon Wisdom, Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) President Burkett Dorsett, New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) President Godfrey Burnside and Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) Secretary General Theodore Sweeting present, the agreement that baseball and softball will co-exist in the government schools became official.
This pioneer venture is in keeping with the new sports culture that is being driven by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Expanding the sporting landscape and providing facilities accordingly, is a key component of the present central administration. Just recently, the comprehensive sports complex in Flamingo Gardens was officially opened. A rather nice field that can accommodate both softball and baseball is in place. The government schools in the general area now have that facility available, and it can also now host visiting schools. It’s all about broadening the base of school sports.
Hopefully, the private schools (not yet engaged in baseball play) will soon follow. Internationally, the sporting disciplines that are so similar in playing rules and regulations have made a joint application to become an official part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sports listing. There is the idea actually, that softball and baseball although operating separately, can function under one general banner to solidify the same objectives.
Locally, the inclusion of baseball in the government system provides yet another prime opportunity for scholarships. The BBF has blazed a trail in giving student/athletes scholarship situations. That organization is well-connected throughout the United States. It has been an avenue for hundreds of sports/educational scholarships over the last two decades. Now, just as students who have demonstrated extraordinary abilities in track and field, volleyball, and basketball are scouted and recruited to institutions, baseball in government schools will be another such forum.
Congratulations go out to the softball and baseball leaders from the two federations. While softball has for decades been part of the sports curriculum in all schools in the country, the concept of baseball is rather new. It is indeed good that the two sports that are so alike are now going a step further, joining forces, to propel both disciplines.
Of course, all of this is now possible, with the endorsement of the Government of The Bahamas following the advice given to Cabinet colleagues by Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald. It’s a mandate indeed, according to the Guardian article, that came down from the central administration through Minister Fitzgerald. So, student-athletes in the government system across the archipelago can be prepared for a taste of baseball beginning in September.
For sure, the new adventure will be a “work in progress” for quite some time. It is a dimension however that is significant to the growth of sports in the government schools. Softball and one faction of baseball in the country are sharing efforts and ideas. Perhaps the nation is getting closer to the BBF and the Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA) coming together under one banner.