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Bahamas Youth Football
Thursday, 03 January 2008 17:20

I would like to take this opportunity to express my view on the football program that our young boys had the opportunity of participating in this past year. Let me start by saying thank you to all concerned for their hard work and effort.

I was thrilled at the chance my son was being given as I see potential for him in the sport and for the chance of him being able to obtain a scholarship through the program to go off to college and make something of his life beyond what I could afford him.

Not only was the Football League training our boys to play a sport, but the expectations of the boys off the field were equally expected and enforced. The kids had to hand in monthly reports from their teachers, not only confirming GPA (grade point averages), but also verifying conduct. If they failed to maintain their GPA to a passing grade or got into trouble at school they were out of the program.

I have heard comments from a few teachers in the government schools that the behaviour of the young men in the program had greatly improved and they were interested in learning, finally. Not to mention, with the heavy practice schedule they had, it took them off the streets allowing very little time for getting into mischief. Now let’s look at that for a minute ... they are off the street, not getting into trouble and studying. WOW!

Why has the football program had such an impact on these children? Because, for once, they see a way to further their education when no other opportunity was available to them. They see a light at the end of the tunnel for their lives and have a dream. All of a sudden there is a reason to stay in school and get good grades, a way to get into college, and get good jobs one day.

The sad thing is that this program is in threat of ending after just one season because of funding. I ask the Minister of Sports, the Government and everyone out there what can be done to save this program and ensure that it has a true chance of impacting our young men in a positive way? How can we ensure that our young boys stay focused and off the streets with dreams bigger than becoming another drug dealer or another statistic?

You're maybe thinking there is nothing you can do, after all times are tough, but every fifty dollars, every hundred dollars, it all adds up. We can all make a difference in the lives of our future, and yes, investing in the NFL Football Program is investing in our future, for every one of the young men involved who's sent off to school and educated where their parents would not have been able to afford them is another businessman, another lawyer, another Minister of Sports.

Our youths, males and females, are fighting a battle for survival and this is evident when you look at our crime rate and the age of the children committing the crimes; for lack of a dream to dream. Please, let us try to find a way to keep this dream alive in our children’s hearts.