Posted: Sunday, August 21, 2022. 9:35 a.m. CST.
By Audrey Matura: The Murillos and I were the airport’s biggest fans. While waiting there, I asked questions, observed, checked, and could not fail to notice the contrast in our people’s treatment of ours.
The dancehall artist who arrived had his own small fan base…. He even received special treatment at immigration and customs. He was even ahead of the queue of our athletes. Knowing me, y’all know I was crazy, but I decided to play it cool until now I’m writing about it.
So here are my thoughts:
1. Our athletes promote a level of positivity that the dancehall artist can never achieve or understand.
2. When the dancehall dude got off the plane, he hops on a high-powered motorcycle and speeds around the airport parking lot and acts reckless, but the crowd goes wild.
3. Our athletes, on the other hand, each received certificates of participation from the North American Powerlifting Federation, but there was no one to cheer them on because they are officially recognized as professional athletes!
4. Of course, I hope it’s out of shame that no government or sports council representative showed up…. Because the minister made all his lame excuses why it was too late to help, but the donors who heard our call never felt it was too late and promptly donated with their kind donations for make this journey possible.
5. I could see they got a lot of attention and adulation overseas, just to come home with a different fashion and vibe…. Because even the local media were not interested in their story…. He didn’t bleed, so he didn’t make the headlines.
6. Except I personally cheer them on and go live on fB to report their arrival and hear them talk excitedly…they knew the Belize love wasn’t there.
Yet I am so proud to see 6 young people between the ages of 21 and 31 working together in a foreign country and representing us despite the limited resources and support at home. I’m proud to see them waving the flag of the country they love but didn’t love them back like they deserve. I’m proud to see my multicultural youth blind to their race and color and seeing only young men and women with the same goal. I’m proud of them because unlike the foreign dancehall artist (nothing personal against him) they send a positive message. They don’t glorify violence and a culture of sexual exploitation of women through music…. Oh no!!!! They are raising the bar of excellence for our youth and lifting weights!
They are strong in body, mind and soul and promote a very healthy lifestyle. These are heroes who have come home ready to return to the gym and train for the next competition! President Khalid Usher told me he wanted to bid to host NAPF 2025 in Belize. They see the growth and expansion of their powerlifting influence in this country. They have a vision while our government is visionless and does not see them.
However, on my side, I see greatness in what they do…I see leaders in them…. I see hope in them.
As part of the delegation, the two oldest competitors, both over 50 years old, participated in the masters. They are Robert MC Williams and Alida Wright Sharp, who both worked with the young team and fit in well under the young chairman. These two master competitors are an inspiration to us seniors, and they too should have been greeted with such admiration because they remind us that it’s never too late or too old to be active, in good healthy and strong.
I said my peace…. I now call on the government to grant these athletes the listening ear they have been seeking since their inception…. From their first letter to the government…Give them proper uniforms and all financial and moral support and have them travel to schools and neighborhoods across the country to recruit other young people so that we give our young people a positive and an option other than guns, drugs, violence and an early death.
I have shared my thoughts and pray that they reach the eyes and ears of Johnny Briceno, Rodwell Ferguson Sr. and Ian Cal. Let these leaders show real leadership and do more than just take a picture with them!!!!
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