By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
With it’s top officials stepping down, the BVI Softball Association finds itself in a crisis.
Last Wednesday, the minimum 21 day deadline as per the association’s Constitution for nominating persons to the association’s executive body passed with no one showing interest in any position on the association.
Association president Neville “Sheep” Smith—who had been pumping his own money into the body—announced during the season that he would not be seeking re-election and also retiring as a player. General Secretary Marieta Flax-Headley too has indicated she is not seeking re-election leaving the body in crisis as no interest has been shown by anyone.
“As of today, December 11, no nominations have come forward thus for either to me, the president, or any other executive member,” Flax-Headley stated. “We now have to decide on the way forward.”
Flax-Headley said she had been expecting nominations and had heard through the grapevine of persons showing interest but that was just talk. She said it’s now time to step up to the plate because no one has.
Softball is the second oldest sport in the territory and has had an ongoing league since 1952. Flax-Headley that during the season, Smith publicly stated that he will not vying for another term.
“I can safely say myself as secretary, I will not be going for another team,” Flax-Headley said. “I do believe that there are other members who don’t have the desire to be there for another term. We have been there for three or four terms now and I think it’s time for some new blood.”
The secretary said that most of the current executive members are willing to work with whoever is elected as a means of support, but they need persons to hold key position to carry the sport forward.
With Smith stepping down, Flax-Headley said while he likes the sport, he seems to be frustrated that he’s there and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. She said his thinking is, if someone gets the opportunity, maybe they might be able to take the sport where he and his team couldn’t take it.
“In anything, you have to know when your end has come and step down,” she stated. “I think he’s doing the admirable thing by giving someone else the chance to do what he couldn’t do.”
When asked what is needed to take the sport further, Flax-Headley said softball needs money.
“Like everything else, you can have all the interest and you can have all the ideas, but unless you have the funding, you can’t go anywhere,” she pointed out.
“Another key thing for softball right now is that we need umpires. We need persons who can step up to the plate. We can have a clinic, but you need persons to bring in to conduct these clinics. There are persons who want to help, but they don’t want to make the commitment.”
The association runs an annual league Flax-Headley noted but they need to get beyond that she said, noting that they need to organize tournaments with players from other countries coming. That too takes money to organize she said.
Additionally, the facilities are also in need of dire repairs not just now but this has been a problem for years she said.
“Every year there are promises and every year there’s just a little quick fix and at the end of it, another year passes,” she explained. “I think for softball to go anywhere in the BVI, we need committed people from top to bottom—persons who would like to see the sport develop. I know people have been talking about sports tourism. It’s a good thing, if we look at that as another avenue we can look at in building our territory. There’s big bucks in sports tourism, but, you have to put in big bucks to make the big bucks so to speak.”