Let's hear it for the winners
HOWZZAT! Last weekend West Indies shook off the lethargy, got a bush bath, run weh bad luck duppy and emerged with energy to surprise us and themselves by winning the World Twenty20 Cricket Championship. Good shot, gentlemen, good shot!
Marlon Samuels might have been named Man of the Match and Daren Sammy showed his captainability, but Gayle proved that he ain't no ole man. Wouldn't it be great if he and Bolt were to do a dance-off to determine who has more moves, who could rule the dance hall? All the controversies about Gayle this and Gayle that, all the bitterness against West Indies for playing the loser's role far too long have dispersed (if only for now) like fog when sun ketch-i. The wagonists have emerged from their hiding place to give a victory chorus: "We knew they could do it." As to the cricket board officials who hounded and harassed when they should have been encouraging and supporting, who's sorry now?
The players not only lived to fete another day, but Gayle looked as if he is ready to audition for a place in a dance company, with his Gangnam Style; although to tell the truth, I'd have preferred something more identifiably West Indian so that we could draw down some extra publicity, yuh nuh. Anyhow, it was Mr Gayle's biggest moment. Younger fellows, back weh and watch old men at work. Match that, Usain!
By now, the team must have learned from experience to enjoy the praises while they can. Since no one can remain at the top all the while, and since cricket fans of the West Indies can shift from adoration to alienation quicker than you can say, "Not out," it has to be back to business quick-quick. The cynics are already saying: "Cho, is a fluke. Watch and see if dem can keep it up... Mek mi see what happen after this".
Friend Rex (the Nettleford) used to remind youths especially, that "you're only as good as your last performance". After the Gangnam bacchanal, Gayle and company will have to remain victorious to hold the loyalties of Caribbean cricket fans. We want winners all the time. You could score the most runs in the world, jump the highest, run the fastest, but your corner dark when you don't win. When it comes to scores, the bigger the better. We don't like narrow margins. We want to see the loser carried off the field, broken and weeping.
There's another regrettable side to sports fans. Hear the ungenerous responses going on now about whether our Olympic heroes, for whom we screamed ourselves hoarse in Half-Way-Tree Square a few weeks ago, should get cash awards from the government. At the height of the London fever nothing was too good for our stars. Now that it comes down to putting money where our mouth was we are making all kinds of excuses about paying up. "Wi bruck, wi nuh have no money." Of course times tight, but must the arguments sound so mean-spirited?
Some of the suggestions for showing appreciation include: "Fix the roads in front of their yards." and "Give them souvenir gold coins." (Any idea how much solid gold costs?) "Give dem piece a land." Any minute now, somebody might come up with the suggestion for the usual gift baskets - with the regulation fruits, fake wine and peanuts. Wrap it all up in nuff cellophane with big-big bow... and don't forget the corsage... big enough to embarrass the men when it is pinned to the chest. However, before we embarrass ourselves and the proud Olympians - including the Paralympian gold medallist - why not give options? Some could do well with cash to take care of personal needs, while others would welcome land. If we can't do it properly, don't do it at all.
ALL TOO SOON, reality is back to haunt us. Last week, when big fat women were being captured on camera, plunging into the cold, dutty water of the Rio Cobre to retrieve offal from an overturned trailer, I had this vision (or more like nightmare) of pictures on Facebook, etc., showing the world that we're dying of hunger to the extent that we would retrieve garbage for the cooking pot. I'm sorry, but I believe the motivation is greed. The health authorities' warning that the cow foot and chicken could be tainted seemed to have put a brake on the scavenging and the fear that the "catch" was to have been sold. When will we clean up our act?
AWRIGHT, let's go back to looking at another side of us - a better side - for it is here. Last Saturday night I had the privilege of being in the company of a group from the diaspora family, who had come from the US, Canada, UK and Belize, to celebrate the Jamaican Jubilee of their growing up in Kingston and days of worship and fellowship at the Torrington United Church in Kingston.
Tucked away in a corner of Slipe Road - one of the city's busiest thoroughfares - Torrington Church has a long history of dedication, serving the immediate community and shaping the lives of generations who passed through its doors. In remembrance of times past, the former members who came from far and near had a great time recalling "the old days" of when people honoured the codes of community, and family was everything.
They also took time to visit areas which have changed drastically since they left here, many before Independence. Surprisingly, some had never been back before this. The visit became a voyage of discovery - seeing old neighbourhoods gone or so changed that they were unrecognisable, and discovering improvements of which they were unaware. What had not changed was the fellowship and that indefinable "edge" which makes Jamaica still home.
ANOTHER BRIGHT SPOT in this week was the annual Musgrave Medals presentation at the Institute of Jamaica. Doctors, scientists, literary specialists, artists, musicians, teachers, people who had the imagination to make a difference make up the impressive prize list. Special commendations to 14-year old Richaydo Farquharson who has been given the Musgrave Youth Award for entrepreneurship. The Porus High School student is a bee-keeper, loves maths and looks forward to extending his business. Now, if that ain't good news, then what is?
Education Minister Rev Ronald Thwaites did the sensitive thing. He invited
Richaydo's mother, poetry-loving Sister Charmaine, to go on stage and share the moment with her son. Nice!