IN his report on Jamaica's epic 0-0 draw against mighty Mexico in the Azteca stadium in Mexico City on Wednesday night, Sports Editor Mr Ian Burnett asks the rhetorical question "who would have thought it possible?"
Truth is, not many of us.
The Reggae Boyz, their coaching and support staff, deserve our salutations not just for their achievement in becoming the first Jamaican football team to come away from Mexico City with a point, but also for their obvious belief that it was possible and that their time had come.
Here was a triumph of the human spirit, imagination, and endeavour in the face of gigantic odds.
To appreciate the task facing the Jamaicans as they took the field, one must understand the fortress that is the Azteca. Located at high altitude, 7,200 feet above sea level, visiting players to the historic stadium will often experience serious breathing problems after extended running because of the thin air. The experience is complicated by smog generated by human industry in one of the world's most populous cities.
Even the most powerful football nations quake at the thought of facing Mexico in their high-altitude conditions. Jamaica has suffered horribly throughout the years, to put it mildly.
As our sports editor pointed out in his report, previous results in World Cup qualifiers involving Jamaica in Mexico City capture the extent of Mexican domination: 8-0, 2-1, 6-0, 4-0, and 3-0. Those old enough will remember that the 2-1 result in the late 1990s did not in any way reflect Mexico's domination of that game.
The fear entering Wednesday night's encounter was that the Reggae Boyz would be in for another heavy defeat, especially since the team, made up mostly of professionals in Britain and North America, only gathered in Mexico two or three days before and had very little time training together.
Yet, as it turned out, apart from the determination and pride so typical of Jamaicans, it was the hard experience of years of playing football for a living in often hostile circumstances that made the difference for the Jamaicans.
Tactically disciplined and technically efficient, the players carried out their coaches' plans and instructions to the letter, massing behind the ball when the Mexicans attacked and hitting back with rapid, even stylish counter-attacks whenever the opportunity presented itself. The composure and method of the Jamaicans could not be faulted.
Obviously very fit, physically and mentally, they never lost their tactical shape and arguably got the best scoring chances as their vaunted opponents left holes in defence in their bid to score.
It was a total team effort, but special mention must be made of goalkeeper Mr Donovan Ricketts, who was extraordinary. Now in his mid-30s, Mr Ricketts, who was a very young reserve when Jamaica reached its only World Cup tournament back in 1998 in France, captured the essence of the Jamaican spirit in what was very probably his best ever performance for the Black, Green, and Gold.
There is a long way to go in this World Cup qualifying campaign, all of nine remaining games, home and away, and as was proven last year when the Reggae Boyz lagged dangerously after a historic victory over the United States, there must be no lapse into complacency.
As we said in the lead-up to the Azteca challenge, this is just the start of the campaign. Like never before, the nation must rally behind Mr Theodore Whitmore and his team, encouraging and supporting as best we can, even in these depressingly hard economic times, as they strive to qualify for Brazil 2014.
But we can safely say that no matter what happens from now on, Wednesday night's performance was one for the Ages. It was also an example for all of us as we face life's often cruel challenges. Let us all hail the Reggae Boyz!