Shooting the hoop at World Netball Championships

first_img Full-time players needed Invariably, the player bears responsibility for the result. That burden for decisions made in competition, for execution of practised routines and for delivering results rests with the athlete who steps into the court or crosses the boundary rope. The player, however, is never alone. In reality, even the player’s on-the-field responsibility is subsumed by the quality of the sports system he or she represents. That loose ball at the death, that last-minute fumble and that long serve to a sharp opponent at match point are as much the player’s fault as it is the fault of the system that produced the player. It is through this prism that Jamaica’s losses at the Netball World Cup can be viewed. Defeats from winning positions, as in the preliminary round 50-54 loss to England, aren’t just due to the players or changes made by the coaching staff. The same goes for the qualification round 48-55 setback to the undefeated New Zealanders. The Silver Ferns and their neighbours, Australia, are products of superior systems. They regularly play indoors and their combined ANZ League provides regular high-level play. There are more part-timers on the England team, but many of them play in the ANZ. Narrow losses at the 2014 Commonwealth Games had some pundits thinking that England would break the Australia-New Zealand domination of the sport at this World Cup. We will see. Luckily, Jamaican losses to New Zealand and England occurred at a stage of the tournament that wasn’t fatal. The situation was probably made worse by the ankle injury suffered by 30-year-old centre Paula Thompson. Provided Jamaica beat improving Malawi and Uganda, Thompson could be back at full speed for the semi-finals. That could be the key to more goal attempts for our shooters led by Romelda Aiken. To shoot the hoop in the long term, Jamaica needs to move from being an outdoor sport played by part-timers to being contested more often indoors by a full-time senior group. The better our Sunshine Girls become, the more they will gain access to professional leagues. That has helped England close the gap to the Big Two – Australia and New Zealand. There are encouraging developments. Jamaica has recently launched its own semi-professional league. When that league moves indoors, that will be a major advance. Second, the promise of affordable access to national sports facilities due to lower electricity costs will give the Girls more practice in the conditions under which their rivals play all the time. That’s the hoop hope for the future. In the meantime, the Girls seek now to reach the semis and to upset the form chart in Sydney, host of the Netball World Cup. Before you give up in the presence of two superior systems, remember one thing. Upsets actually do happen. That’s why we play the games. – Hubert Lawrence did radio commentary on the 2003 Netball World Cup in Kingston.last_img read more

May Day melee reflects failure in city leadership

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Before the tear gas came the warning. I clearly heard, “This is an illegal assembly. You are ordered to disperse.” The helicopters circled menacingly overhead and I, along with the rest, faced a Hobson’s Choice of bad options. You see, while we were ordered to disperse, we were also surrounded by the police. There was literally nowhere to go. Maybe a backhoe to dig us out, or rescue, deus ex machina, from one of the helicopters. The helicopters supplied no relief — only the tear gas canisters that begat the running, the beatings and the rage. What I’m describing was a riot in Berkeley in the late 1960s. As a survivor of that era, I know something about what happened on Tuesday in MacArthur Park. While “riotology” is not my academic field, living through Berkeley in the ’60s gives me an informal masters, if not a PhD. Typically, a peaceful demonstration turns ugly when people in the back, craving the adrenalin charge of blood and destruction, start throwing rocks and bottles. I have never seen riots start totally unprovoked (not since the days of Bull Conner and the civil-rights movement). The people in the front then bear the brunt of the police violence, while those who started it remain in relative safety. Sometimes protesters riot, and sometimes it is the police who lose control of themselves. This latter seems to have been the case at MacArthur Park. Both sides share a lot in common during a riot. The protesters see the police as nonhuman and the source of unreasonable authority. The police see the protesters (soon to be rioters) as the force of anarchy and chaos. They meet at their mutual inability to see the other as anything but the enemy. This is how good cops hit women, broadcasters, members of the press and people who are just trying to get out of the way. The early 20th century sociologist Gustav LeBon wrote about how the members of a mob join in the energy of the moment and lose their individual sense of self and their own values or morals. This is true of both police and protesters. Once the violence starts, it is easy to get lost in the passion of the moment. It takes tremendous discipline and the willing suppressing of our natural instincts to hold to our own values. This discipline comes from training. Our police were clearly not prepared for what they saw in the park. This is a failure, not so much of the individual police officers, but of leadership. They were not trained for dealing with a largely peaceful group with some violent — and probably inebriated — people. They were trained for civil insurrection. Their leaders, our leaders, called the wrong play from the wrong playbook. Pundits often observe that the military prepares for the previous war. Well, the police are no different. Their use of force was properly designed for urban insurrection, for the Watts Riots or the Rodney King Riots. Thousands of people looting stores, setting fires and beating innocent shop owners might need to be cleared with the kind of authority and level of violence we saw Tuesday. But that level was not appropriate for thousands of peaceful people trapped in front of some provocateurs. Am I prejudging without having been there or before the official reports are issued? Yes. Isn’t that irresponsible? No. The reports and results of investigations will most likely follow the established pattern of blaming a few bad apples among the marchers and a few bad apples among the police. Like Abu Ghraib, no report will place the responsibility at the high level where it belongs — on the playbook and whoever called the play. This was a protest that did not need to become a riot. But it became a police riot because they were given orders to quell an insurrection instead of arresting a few violent thugs. We, the people, deserve better leadership. The police, too, deserve better leadership.— Jonathan Dobrer is a professor of comparative religion at the University of Judaism in Bel-Air. Write to him by e-mail at jondobrer@mac.com.last_img read more

TAOISEACH ASKS GERRY ADAMS IF SEX ABUSERS WERE MOVED TO DONEGAL

first_imgTAOISEACH Enda Kenny has asked Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams if sex abusers were moved to safe houses in the Republic from the North, specifically claiming these houses were in Donegal, Louth and in Dublin.The Taoiseach also directly challenged Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, to answer specific questions on the issue following allegations made by former Sinn Fein member Mairia Cahill.The questions included: • Were people “expelled” from the North and still now operating in the Republic – and if so where were they and what were they doing now?• Did three senior IRA people make Mairia Cahill repeatedly answer questions and also confront her attacker?• Was she forcibly sworn to secrecy and forbidden to report the case to the police?Gerry Adams said the claims were a slur “on thousands of decent Sinn Fein members” by falsely alleging they covered up sex abuse cases involving Republicans. The Sinn Fein leader strongly denied there was any “cover-up” by his party.He said he wanted all abuse victims to come forward and tell their stories, adding: “They will have Sinn Fein’s full support in doing so.” TAOISEACH ASKS GERRY ADAMS IF SEX ABUSERS WERE MOVED TO DONEGAL was last modified: October 22nd, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more