For many of the athletes on national teams not considered major sports the struggle is real. That is not to say that those in major sports don’t struggle or face at times seemingly insurmountable odds.
On Saturday at the St Mary’s College Grounds the T&T national senior men’s 15 a side rugby team defeated Mexico to lift the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) 2015 rugby championship. Previous winners in 2001 and 2008, the Calypso Warriors T&T rugby team has broken into the top 50 ranking in world rugby as a result of their recent exploits.
Rugby is considered a minor sport here in T&T. It’s not a status that should alarm anyone as it reflects the reality of rugby’s participation level as compared to football, cricket and track and field to name a few. Among the few hundred supporters — a decent crowd by local rugby standards — was present to see T&T Captain Adam Frederick lift the NACRA Championship trophy was His Excellency Anthony Aquinas Carmona, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The T&T team dedicated their win to former national rugby player Jason Clark who suffered a significant spinal cord injury a few years ago. Clark still remains a well-loved member of the T&T rugby fraternity and no doubt his comrades still consider him very much a part of the T&T team set up. Cleopatra Borel and Shanntol Ince were also present in a show of patriotism and support for their fellow national colleagues.
As pointed out earlier, the support of His Excellency, Cleopatra and Shanntol would have sent a powerful message of comradeship. At times our athletes struggle to comprehend the “whys” and “wherefores” of the challenges and struggles they face. For our athletes they find it hard to accept that the pride they share in wearing the red, white and black at times is not noticed or considered.
In trying to solve some of the momentous problems facing this small society of 1.3 million people the at times enormity of the problems can seem a mountain too high. But yet in the face of so many talented sons and daughters of the soil. The inspiration to soldier on can be found.
That’s why supporting our national athletes and teams are always an important exercise in patriotism and nation building. Every day those involved in sport strive to make this country a better place using the values of sport. While the support can’t always be financial the mere fact of wearing red and showing up gives our athletes uplift.