T&T celebrates its 45th anniversary of independence,
I want today to pay tribute to a man who died more than
30 years ago. He was to me, and to most people who grew
up in the 50s, 60s and 70s, the doyen of sports reporters,
a man who remains unparalleled today in the world of sports
I am referring to the late, great Ralph Ellis Knowles, or
Raffie as he was popularly known.
Raffie was the Head of Sports at Radio Trinidad for years
and when television came to Trinidad on Independence Day
in 1962, he was the natural choice to provide television
viewers with the local, regional and international sports
news on a nightly basis.
Raffie had the memory of an elephant and viewers used to
marvel at how he would present the sports news from almost
every sport under the sun without ever having the benefit
of a script. He would provide detailed scores, give historical
data on players and teams and keep us amused with anecdotes
on a whole variety of sports.
What made it even more remarkable was the fact that his
was the era before the invention of the teleprompter which
has made life so easy for todays television presenters.
As a young reporter at T.T.T. in the early 1970s, I had
the privilege to learn from the master. I remember Raffie
telling me on numerous occasions that any sports reporter
worth his salt should always ensure that all sports were
given equal coverage.
While Raffie acknowledged that cricket, football and track
and field were the most popular sports in T&T, he would
always emphasise that they were no more important than chess,
or rugby or motor racing or golf and that sports writers
should go out of their way to seek out information on these
so-called lesser sports so that they could receive
the type of coverage they deserved but rarely ever got.
If only todays sports reporters could take a page
out of Raffie Knowles book, the world of sport would
be considerably enriched in T&T today.
Unfortunately, they dont.
I must admit that I have become totally disillusioned with
my former colleagues in the media who seem unprepared to
make any effort whatsoever to seek out sports news and who
wait instead for information to be handed to them on a platter
before it is reported to our sports-loving public.
Of course the only exception is when it involves some type
of bacchanal or confusion. Once that is the case, they come
swarming like bees to a hive.
Three recent examples will illustrate the point I am trying
T&Ts golfers were recently involved in two major
The first was the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship which
took place in the Dominican Republic in early August while
the second was the Stephen Ames Cup where T&Ts
junior golfers clashed with their Canadian counterparts
in a Ryder Cup-style tournament in Toronto.
After the first days play at the Caribbean Championship,
not one single newspaper carried a word about what had transpired
even though T&T had taken the lead in both the Mens
and Ladies categories and was favourably placed in
the other three.
Suspecting that this was going to be the case for the entire
tournament, I took it upon myself to compile the results
on a daily basis on the subsequent days and send them by
e-mail to the various newspapers. As a result, the most
significant regional golf tournament eventually received
The same applied with the Stephen Ames Cup and, once again,
I was forced to compile the results and provide them. Had
I not done so, the T&T public would not have had a clue
about the performances of our local players.
And the sad thing is that the information in both cases
was readily available, in real time, on the Internet.
The only person who ever called me to ascertain how he could
obtain the results was Anthony Harford. But then, Tony Harford
is from the old school and has always been a true professional.
Not one other sports reporter ever made the slightest effort
to get information for himself.
However, when prior to the Stephen Ames Cup, the T&T
Golf Association was forced to drop a young player from
the national team for disciplinary reasons, I was bombarded
by calls from almost every sports reporter on the face of
the earth who wanted information on the issue.
You see, they perceived that there was bacchanal in this
one so up went their noses and they came like bloodhounds
lining up for the kill.
Why, oh why have our sports journalists descended to these
Shouldnt they leave that to the politicians. At least
we know that politicians thrive on bacchanal.
Raffie Knowles, why have you left us?
Now lets head for the 19th Hole.