When we are good, we are very, very good ...


Monday, September 05, 2011

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There is much that has been "very,very good" about our beloved Jamaica over the past week.

Yes, we were devastated when Usain Bolt picked the start in the 100 metres event at the Daegu World Championships, but Yohan Blake's face was a picture as we saw his expression moving from shock to resolve. The Anchovy Primary-St Jago High graduate became the youngest sprinter ever to have broken the 10-second barrier at 19 years, 197 days.

Then we watched Melaine Walker, reeling in pain, battle the difficult 400m hurdles event on Thursday to win courageous silver. While Melaine was on the big screen, her father, Japheth Walker, was on his knees at a little church on Maxfield Avenue, praying, "Lord, give her the strength to compete to the best of her ability and make us proud." The Lord did, and Maxfield erupted in jubilation.

The day before, Veronica Campbell Brown, our beloved VCB, had won a silver in the 100m event behind her worthy competitor Carmelita Jeter of the USA. For the 200m event on Friday, we nervously watched her in the starting blocks as we knew that on-form American Allyson Felix had three consecutive world titles in this event and that Jeter was also on a winning streak. But VCB was not nervous at all! She flew like a jet out of the blocks and kept her blistering pace, giving Jamaica our second glorious gold. VCB has sealed her place as a legend - gold in the Athens Olympics as a 19-year-old, gold in Beijing and now gold in the Daegu World Championships.

As this column goes to press, we have seen Usain Bolt almost "walk" to qualify for the final of the 200m event and are glad to see that he has moved forward, reclaiming his light-hearted, crowd-pleasing ways. We have to give props to the Jamaican 4x400 relay team for their hard-fought bronze medal, especially Jermaine Gonzales.

Eloquent Blake and Lyn

We sat in awe at the Professional Jamaicans for Jamaica (PJFJ) Scholarship awards last Sunday as Lanvell Blake Jr, a STETHS sixth-former of Accompong Town in St Elizabeth read his winning essay, entitled: "Lifting as we Climb". Here is an excerpt:

"And since we were socialised to separate ourselves and to see ourselves through vastly different prisms from how we see our less fortunate brothers and sisters, coming together as one people could continue to be a fleeting dream for many around the world. For, year-in-year-out, our only purpose is to expand the kingdom of the crab. It is a state where we are perpetually at war; pulling each other down in order to push ourselves forward, because we cannot stand to see the other crab crawl out of the barrel ahead of us; even when that forward movement stands to benefit the larger group. We call it the 'crab in a barrel' syndrome.

"The results from these behaviours manifest themselves in ways unthinkable. We kill our own ideas. We do not ventilate our misgivings in amicable ways. We amplify the negatives. We dig ditches for our brothers and sisters to fall in them, without knowing that we could be 'hoisted by our own petard'. We play tricks, backbite, plot, and weave some monumental webs. We come to the table of dialogue always well-prepared to defend, but never to amend, our proposals. We must overcome other deeply entrenched socio-cultural barriers."

Professional Jamaicans for Jamaica is led by US-based Jamaican Horace A Daley. Each year they sponsor the Esmie L Walters Scholarship, named for Horace's late mother as well as grants for top-performing Jamaican students.

There has been a buzz about a lively speech given by Matthew Lyn at the dedication of the new Hendrickson Physics Lab at Campion College. Young Lyn harked back to his studies in physics at his alma mater and spun a metaphor from Sir Isaac Newton's Three Laws of Motion:

"The first law states that an object will stay at rest or in motion in a straight line until an external force is applied to it... Now just imagine that Campion is that object at rest and it then follows that we will forever be at rest ... until an external force is applied to it. To me, it is quite clear who this external force is ... it is every alumnus, every student and parent ...

"However, how much we contribute or how much force we apply will dictate how far from rest this object moves and how far it will travel. And this is where the second law comes in, as it says that the rate of change of momentum is directly proportionate to the resultant force acting on it...Andrew (Mahfood), Ashley (Gambrill- Rousseau) and the entire team, you are the ones who make this dream a reality... And speaking about momentum, the initial challenge grant by Butch Stewart, Adam and family was the kind of start that this project certainly needed.

The third law - For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction...The campaign and its success is the reaction to the actions taken by the people we owe so much to in life - Our Teachers. ... This lab is dedicated to the teachers who have served this institution of academic excellence over the past 50 years and who have taught 11 of us spanning two generations over those years."

Lanvell, Matthew and Yohan remind us that we have a brave new generation to keep hope alive in our beloved country.



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