freddabbot

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Road Tennis:

A fading Bajan heritage: By Alfred D Smith.

Roadtennis, the only indigenous sport of Barbados (and I would even venture to suggest, of the wider Caribbean region as well,) has imbedded within it, a number of unique qualities which, for some strange reason has been generally overlooked by an overwhelming number of our policy makers, down through the years. In many of our communities it has literally, been allowed to fade into extinction with little or no concern displayed for its demise.

The off-stated acknowledgement, that roadtennis is a relatively low cost pastime, which was started by underprivileged young men in what at that time were generally under developed areas of our society, in a small underdeveloped country ought to have been cause for celebration as a positive and elevating accomplishment. This has, for reasons difficult for me to fully grasp, turned out to be viewed as negative, directly contributing to its disregard over the years by many.

The fact that none of our leading scholars has seen it as worth their time to write and publish any literature worthy of drawing the public’s attention to it, at least none of which I am aware, with regards to the history, social Impact and development of this beautiful game among us is to my mind something I view as unfortunate, shortsighted and unacceptable.

It indeed does appear, as though many of our pass policy makers have generally brushed aside, disregarded or for some unstated reason, failed to take an in-depth look at the beneficial social, educational, health, moral, cultural, discipline building and economic potential which reside within this precious gem of a game, just waiting for a chance to be let loose and surge to the fore.

I would like to highly commend the present government for taking the long overdue initiative of putting policies in place to address the exposure of our valuable cultural heritage in the passing of the Cultural Industries Development Bill. I would therefore, now like to join with them and seize this opportunity, which they have made available, to expose the substantial value which can be extracted, mined: if the use of that term may be permitted in this instance, from roadtennis: a natural resource of Barbados.

Presently there are among us an aging number of highly skilled, extremely gifted and intensely dedicated exponents of the fine arts of this amazing game. A few of these we get the opportunity to read about or view on those rare occasions when their exploits are highlighted in various sections of our media. From this we can take some small measure of comfort. The drawback, however, as I think upon it, is that these have all become elitist athletes with natural hard earned skills who have miraculously managed to survived the general neglect to which this game has been subjected.

However, having no designated nursery in place to replenish their aging numbers, our game is left at the fickle mercy of chance. My fear is that roadtennis, as we know it, now occupying fewer and fewer diminishing reservations, if left to itself, literally faces the unthinkable prospect of becoming extinct here in Barbados sometime in the future.

Plan of Action:

1. I am first of all proposing to this government that roadtennis, the only indigenous sport of our tiny but great country, be officially designated the national sport of Barbados.

2. In order to sensitize the general populace of its intrinsic value, I have written a book which I have titled: The story of roadtennis. Both interested adults, junior students and seniors can read this in order to get a much clearer understanding of where this game actually came from; where it is at the present moment and where it can take us if we would only choose to summon the will and the faith in it to put policies in place which would enhance its value, thereby giving it the prestige it requires and deserves.

3. I will be seeking funding for a pilot project in which I will take students: both boys and girls by the way, between the ages of 6 years old until the age when they will leave primary school and personally oversee their training in the various disciplines of this game. My goal in this instance is to show from the ensuing results, that roadtennis can be taught in a safe, structured and scientific way to juniors and rather than hamper their development and ability to learn, will positively enhance it. I will show that roadtennis is such a comprehensive social discipline, that it will elevate their all-round appreciation of themselves, their peers and extend even to those operating outside of their circle of interest, causing them to be appreciative of their significant value and their unlimited potential.

4. As an important aspect of this pilot project I will also endeavor to train some teachers, interested parents and other members of the society how to teach roadtennis in a scientific way to pre-teens.

5. Traditionally, roadtennis has attracted much of its adherents due to its ability to satisfy and bring to the fore their fascination with competing against each other and mastery over an opposing player. While it is not my intention of removing or even sidelining this important, traditional aspect of the game, I will be concentrating the main efforts in my programs on various disciplines which will place the primary emphasis on mastery over oneself. The satisfaction of being better than you were the day before and the basic feeling of wellbeing derived from doing something which is beautiful, well.

6. We will be implementing a concept, of color grading of students as a ranking system, just like in the martial arts, based not only on their ability to win games but on their capacity to play beautiful, disciplined roadtennis and to implement all of its many finer attributes. For example a player will receive added credits for how he or she behaves on and around the court, how he treats his gear and how he treats other players etc.

Space requirements:

a. Though roadtennis does not require a great deal of space to be played, it has become increasingly evident that it is no longer practical, reasonable or safe to locate it on our roads as in the past.

b. If roadtennis is to be viewed as having value; a pastime richly embedded with attributes which carry the potential to add worth to an individual; and if roadtennis is to be seen as attractive, then it must then be afforded the dignity necessary to exhibit to our people that that is our opinion. I said all that to say that roadtennis should not be force to take the left overs of other pastimes but should have its own dedicated space.

c. A roadtennis court sits on an area which is 10 feet wide by 21 feet long. It requires approximately 3 feet to the left side of the court and 3 feet to the right. A minimum of 6 feet behind each base line rounds off it requirement for space. What we are looking at is 1 thousand & 56 square feet of playing area for 2 courts side by side. I am of the opinion that this game is well worth the investment.

d. I propose that these courts be built to standards which guarantee the recommended bounce ratio of a purged roadtennis ball. (that is a ball which has received heat treatment to standardize its bounce)

e. Eventually it is my hope, that playing areas will have some form of total or partial covering, so that students will be able to continue their training, even when there is inclement weather around. For now we will be content with what can be made available.

Playing Equipment Requirement:

1. It is virtually unheard of, for the average parent to be able to walk into a hardware store on this island and purchase a roadtennis ball, racket, net or bag in order that they can play roadtennis with a child. Those persons, who could not make their own equipment, invariably encountered a serious hindrance if they wanted to encourage their child to play this game. My initiative will create a need for well-crafted rackets and balls meeting a stipulated standard. Persons who are skilled at building and maintaining acceptable roadtennis facilities will also derive benefits.

2. There are also many other favorable spinoffs and openings which will present themselves if this game is given a chance to flourish among those children at this tender age.

Conclusion:

I have believed for a long time that there are a growing number of children who can learn more from play than from the traditional method of instruction which has become the norm. Children who may have difficulty learning to count in the class room will more often than not get pass this problem when they have to keep the score against someone they wish to defeat. An activity such as roadtennis is replete with potential which can be utilized to our advantage. All I ask is that we give RoadTennis a chance, through some policy adjustments in our primary schools.

If roadtennis is to be embraced by the rest of the world it ought first to be appreciated by its own people.

If it is to be indelibly imbedded within our culture it must first begin among our primary schools students.

Sign: Alfred D Smith.

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  • freddabbot: would these text more ancient than the received Greek text from which the king James version of the bible been translated be the Alexandrina text and
  • Jim Dandy: You wrote such a long piece, I've selected only one small paragraph, which is reproduced below: QUOTE: The 1611 authorized version of the bible is

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