Island Games time again. There’s no arguing with the strength of the athletics team representing Jersey travelling to the Isle of Wight. I have to say that the outlook at senior level looked bleak as we lost the inter-insular pretty badly last September, but Andrew has built up a nice squad in the last nine months. We’ll come back with a stack of medals but it will be the performances that I’ll be most interested in. Interesting to watch the relay squads practise their baton work. It’s getting slick and not once have I seen the thing hit the deck. If club athletes can do it why on earth since time immemorial have GB relay runners looked like they’ve got soap on their hands?
I sorta wish I was going, but I’m not a good spectator. I did that in the Isle of Man in 2001 and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Two years later in Guernsey I did some officiating so became part of the event. Anyway I hope all the athletes do themselves justice.
I still have a sinking feeling about the sport at the younger levels though. Numbers at the track are crap, the middle-distance group apart. We did a bit of club leafleting at the recent primary schools’ championships and, as a direct consequence, the Minis on Sunday had their biggest turnout of the year. I’m trying to get the moribund Jersey Athletics Association to observe their constitution and meet – the schools’ associations need this desperately – but there remains inertia on that front.
Shortly hitting the shelves will be Athletics in Jersey, a history. Chris Lake has done most of the research and writing with a few more of us chipping in. I think it’s a cracking book, readable with great images. I’ll be banging on much more about this once it comes out. If there’s a common thread throughout the book it’s one of high points followed by decline and fall. The falls come very quickly when drive and initiative are lost. This is the feeling I get right now – I hope I’m wrong.