The “Windsor Park” – Dominica’s most famous recreational ground named after Windsor-England, has played a significant role in our island life. Many who have gone before me will testify that this 5 ¼ acres of land has served Dominica and Dominicans well. Imagine a piece of land so small and insignificant to some, creating so much controversy in such a small country.
Located towards the eastern side of Roseau, or should we just say Roseau Central, it was a popular venue for sports of all kind. It looked small, but was able to accommodate sports of all kind. The local schools’ athletic championships, netball, basketball, volleyball, this was the place to be for the inter schools’ sports competitions. There, we saw young netballers graduate onto senior teams like Jars, Celtics, Spartans to name a few; basketballers to teams like Blazers, Hoyas and Clouds, etc. It was the place to be on a Sunday to watch football when Harlem played Kensbro, or for cricket matches between Cavaliers and Somerset.
I remember the exciting entertainment of our local donkey races; this was a miss-it-and-blame-yourself-event, our “donkey derby”. It was there that we saw donkeys move into reverse gear instead of first or second or simply stall-refused to move. Those were the fun days at the Windsor Park. Our Dominica Grammar School kids used there as a main foot path from school as it made their walk shorter when heading to and from school early in the morning or hot and hungry after a full day of learning.
Years later, we sadly saw our main playing field taken away as there were plans for a sports stadium; we waited and waited with anxiety and then “Yes! Finally, a stadium for Dominica”. Ground was broken and we all got excited. Then in frustration we waited as the ground finally healed itself.
Finally, in 2007 came the realisation of “Dominica’s dream”, our own 12,000 capacity international cricket stadium. Today we enjoy the ambiance which we only heard of around the region. The World Creole Music Festival has finally found a home as we can now accommodate the growing yearly patrons. Our population has always been cricket lovers, so no matter how disappointed we may get towards the West Indies Cricket team, we just curse them up, suck our teeth-“stupes”, suck it up, and as soon as the next match is on we are with them again. These matches can now be experienced first-hand and say “Yes! I was at that match”.
Now many more persons can experience seeing the West Indies in action. With that said; however, I often wonder what happened to our other sporting activities? Why haven’t a few other sporting events been given focus? The nature of the surface at the Windsor Park now makes it difficult to accommodate other sporting events such as football on a regular basis without costly maintenance work. Then there is also the issue of the absence of a sporting arena for the residents of Roseau Central-nowhere to generate movement and to help combat the ever growing obese, junk eating population; nowhere to expend energy and build camaraderie; nowhere to run off or sweat off work related stress, nowhere for the elderly folk to just sit and watch and just enjoy all the movement and noise and silence.
It appears that the small and insignificant Windsor Park accommodated so much more. Now with an ever growing potential for Sports Tourism, it seems that now is the time to develop another avenue to accommodate other activities for the many sports men and women and the public in general whose days began and ended with the Windsor Park.
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