you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that
you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot,
therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are
helpless and ineffectual." -Frank
Why are our
Juniors doing so badly? Too often we blame the players and ignore the
management problems, hidden behind a wall of fear and silence.
I would like to preamble this story by saying that in our efforts to rescue
our beloved game we must comprehend that it is the children who will eventually
be the heroes. We should not berate their abilites, simply because it
is not their fault as my story will show you. Kids/athletes at 13-15 years
of age need to be nurtured, encouraged, guided and not subject to scare
mongering, blackmailing, controlling and humiliation.
Let us now put
it into perspective, my source is a Canadian who lives in Florida and
has an active interest in Cricket. My story is based on his observations
between the players and management. He is an avid reader of canadacricket.com
and felt that it was necessary to respond to the situations he witnessed
at the recently completed U-15 tournament at Disney World and subsequent
reaction of Canadian cricketers in Canada.
My source has
many concerns and in many ways they reflect the growing number of questions
that we in Canada have as well. However, there are some marked incidents
that bear the stigma of unprofessionalism and poor planning. Here are
some of the concerns that were reiterated to me, based on his observations
on interactions between the management and players.
- The players
were not told about the tournament structure and daily programmes.
- There appeared
to be no prior planning of the logistics of the trip. Apparently some
boys were left stranded at Orlando International Airport in the middle
of the night
- No food was
provided during the first 2 days of the tournament, the boys had to
foot their own bill and accompanying parents were forced to open their
- What was the
reason for the $250 levy the players had to pay? Where did this levy
- The management
appeared to have little or no training in dealing with children, far
less potential athletes. Given that there were incidents of the boys
being berated constantly in front of the others, why should an U-15
kid deserve such a humiliating treatment?
to and from the ground and hotel was non-existent on the practice day.
As a result Canadian players did not get to practice, while all other
teams had good practice sessions. This meant that they went into their
first game (which they lost) without having seen the playing field let
alone have a practice.
- The local
organizers in Florida were not aware of the dietary requirements of
the players. For example, my source tells me, that Hot Dogs were on
the menu for dinner on some days (however, kids had to find their own
way for dinner on that day). Religious and cultural diets notwithstanding,
Hot dogs cannot sustain an athlete after a long day of cricket in Florida
sun, heat and humidity.
- There was
no positive reinforcement to the players. Management appeared to be
foucssed on other activities and was heard, in precis, saying "They
would not be playing cricket for Canada if he was in charge
interfering with coaching efforts; the most startling example is the
case of the game against Bermuda started with 10 players. Apparently
the 11th player selected was not due in Florida till 3 hours after game
start as he was flying in from Toronto. This fact was known to management,
in open disregard for the 13 boys ready to play on the ground. The lad
flying in from Toronto only played for a few overs, when the game was
all but lost. As we all know, Canada experienced the worst defeat of
the tournament in this game. Clearly, the game was lost by the manager
and not by the players.
- Has the CCA
seen any type of report from the tour?
- Are they going
to "learn" from the tour to improve "management practices"
on other tours?
faced by these kids are the result of gross incompetenance and unprofessionalism.
Allegations of favouritism, nepotism among the other isms abound! I could
go on listing the many farcial situations faced by these boys in their
efforts but it would be an exhausting task. Given the scenarios above,
all occuring concurrently, how can you expect these lads to perform on
the field. It is a surprise that none of them gave up. Perhaps that is
a testament to their abilities.
Children growing up need to be handled with a careful combination of discipline,
guidance, encouragement and freedom. It was apparent to my source that
the management of this team had no prior discussion on codes of conduct
during the tour either for him or the team. The values that children learn
are from us, and we must be careful to instill in them the codes of conduct
becoming of a Cricketer. It was visible to all that the management did
not care to teach these values. These are ambassadors to our country and
my hope is that these boys will represent Canada at a senior level. Simply,
this sort of unprofessionalism and foolhardiness will not do. These boys
are the gems of our future and should be treated with certain care and
I was advised that I should talk to the returned lads to further develop
my story. However, there is a nagging fear that if I do this they will
not be selected for any further tours. Fear of questioning the status
quo in the various cricketing leagues and in the CCA is not acceptable.
As adults we must see that our children get every opportunity to excel
and not be akin to shoddy treatment at a National level.
The points that needs to be made here are:
- Let us treat
our athletes representing Canada with some dignity and respect;
- Unless we
have "professional" planners, managers, coaches and organizers,
and conduct ourselves in a professional manner, let us not point fingers
at the players for "lack of performance" on tours
- We need to
entrust our youth to managers and coaches who have the ability to earn
respect rather than demand respect from the youth.
- The two matches
that Canada lost in the tournament was not due to lack of talent or
ability but mainly due to ignorance, incompetence and lack of respect
to the players by the management.
I invite any
member of the CCA to refute this article. I am sure canadacricket.com
will post their rebuttal.
ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers
are getting hungry."
-Sir Winston Churchill, November 11, 1937