Schoolboy soccer season


Schoolboy soccer season


Sunday, December 08, 2019

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Am I so round with you, as you with me;

That like a football, you do spurn me thus?

You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither:

If I last in this service, you must case me in leather.

— Shakespeare, The Comedy of Erro rs, II, 1

Round , football, leather, those are the three words that stand out in the above quote. Who would have thought that Shakespeare would be talking about football from as far back as those times? The balls aren't made of leather anymore, but of synthetic material.

It matters not, the ball is still round as the saying goes. It just goes to show the appeal, power, passion, anguish and joy that soccer has infused itself on people, right up to these present times.

No other sport inspires so much passion, often leading to murder, mayhem and even suicide, as does soccer. Yes, now they call it soccer, I guess to differentiate it from American football, which ironically is played with the hands. I savour the irony.

So soccer it is, and another glorious season of schoolboy soccer has drawn to a close. At the time of writing there was just one more game to go — the Olivier Shield between Manning Cup champion JC and Dacosta Cup champion Clarendon College.

Kingston College, of course, won the prestigious All Island Champions Cup for the second time, along with $1.4 million, becoming the first school to achieve that feat. I still contend that schoolboy soccer is the best league in the country, with some of the boys displaying skills that the adults cannot even come close to.

The season was long, difficult, exciting, passionate, heartbreaking and exhilarating all at the same time. I'll share some of my thoughts on schoolboy soccer, right after these responses to 'Fake attractions'.

Hi Tony,

Some men may be attracted to women with ample bosoms, others may be attracted to those with shapely legs and bottoms, while most are attracted to facial beauty. Women however, may be attracted to muscular men with 'six packs', men who are famous and in the public eye but are not necessarily good looking, men who just exude charm and intelligence. And then there are those women who lack self-esteem, who do not believe that they can have a good-looking man. Beauty definitely is in the eyes of the beholder.


Hello Teerob,

I totally agree with you and President Mugabe, there is no such thing as inner beauty. That's just a phrase used to make ugly people feel better. That being said, there is no reason for a woman to be ugly nowadays, as all she has to do is buy 'fake beauty' products and voila, she's fake beautiful.


The schoolboy soccer season came and went with lots of excitement, including some climate interruptions that we could very well do without. The rain, thunder, and lightning wreaked havoc on the games, resulting in many matches being cancelled, rescheduled, partly played and then continued at a different time, and plenty soaking of players and spectators.

I can't recall a football season that was interrupted so frequently be the elements. Unfortunately, lightning struck a few players, but mercifully with no serious injury to any. All referees were instructed to halt any game as soon as there was a flash of lightning. I have never seen stands cleared so quickly as when the first flash of lightning appeared during some matches.

Ironically, one game was halted, the players left the field, only for one to go back to retrieve something and got struck by lightning. Fortunately he was spared serious injury. But the games were on, and I must tell you, I attended every game that KC played, except two in Montego Bay.

My bredrins Neville Oxford, Franklin “Bowla” Morant — both past KC and national football legends — along with broadcaster Ed Wallace, all link up faithfully to watch our alma mater play ball.

Expectations were not particularly high this year in the KC camp, as over 16 members of the winning Manning Cup team of last year had left school. Essentially this year's team was made up mostly of last year's Under 16 Colts players. In fact, the lead striker is merely 15 years old and the goalkeeper is just 16. What carried over was the Fortis spirit.

There were other schools in the mix, in the hunt, hungry to win trophies this year. There were Wolmer's, STGC, JC, STATHS, with the last coming so close in the past few years, reaching semi finals and finals, but never winners.

STATHS were the team to watch, as they kept on knocking at the door. In the rural area, Clarendon College (CC) were the team to fear.

And so the ball rolled, with the first round of matches showing some scores that rivalled table tennis results, with 10-0, 8-0, 12-0 and various double digit scores being dropped on the hapless minnows.

But the wheat was separated from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, the run mouths from the genuine articles, as the cream invariably rose to the top. The usual suspects emerged in the last 16, with KC, STGC, Wolmer's, JC, STATHS, showing good mettle. In the rural area, CC was the only team doing damage.

The rural schools in the daCosta Cup had last year's champions, Clarendon College running rampant and having no equal. There were four major trophies to vie for — the urban Manning Cup, the rural daCosta Cup, the Champions Cup that pits the best urban against the best rural teams, and the Olivier Shield, that involves the winners of the Manning Cup and the DaCosta Cup. Of course, there's also the Walker Cup and the Ben Francis Cup, snidely called the “Losers Cup” as they're played for by the teams that didn't make the top four in the semi finals of their respective competitions.

The argument rages as to which is the most prestigious and difficult cup to win. The Manning and daCosta Cups have a rich history and prestige. The Champions Cup pits the top urban teams against the top rural teams. The Oliver Shield is a one-off game between the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup winners.

Logically I would think that the cups that involved the best of rural and urban teams against each other would be a true reflection of the prowess of the teams. But at times emotions override logic.

Anyway, KC and the highly fancied Clarendon College were in the Champions Cup final, and almost every sports analyst in the Jamaica had CC as being unbeatable. “CC are the best ball-playing team in schoolboy football this year,” was the pre-game talk.

Some even predicted scorelines of 3-0 or 3-1, which made absolutely no sense. I told you that emotions often override logic. KC had the best defensive record in the country, with only six goals against, with four coming from set pieces (free kicks and corners) and two from open play, never losing a game in open play. Yet suddenly in one game that defensive fortress was going to let in three goals in one match?

Only Orville Higgins from KLAS Sports got it right. KC came with a plan and ran CC ragged. The resulting 1-0 scoreline could have been worse, if not for the goalpost, a missed penalty, a ball kicked wide after the goalie was soundly beaten, and a misskick from six yards out.

The gods of soccer can be cruel, but they can also be merciful, saving CC from a bigger embarrassment. KC were crowned champions of champions for the second time in three seasons, which is unprecedented. If KC beat the so-called best team in the land, then what does that make KC?

I will always remember the words of ace announcer Donald Oliver describing that spectacular winning goal by KCs Ronaldo Robinson, “It's KC against the world.” This much vilified and envied school has won four major trophies in four consecutive years — the Walker Cup, when it carried weight, the Manning Cup, and the Champions Cup twice.

JC won the Manning Cup in a dull, lackluster, boring affair, beating STATHS on penalties. Congrats to JC, but I really feel sorry for STATHS, after being unbeaten all season, and then having nothing to show for it. I told you that the gods of football can be cruel. Clarendon College easily dispatched Dinthill 3-0 to win the daCosta Cup. Congrats CC. It was a good second-half display.

Compare the exciting Champions Cup final to the dull Manning Cup final, then tell me who are the best teams in the land. The soccer season was a glorious one. Congrats to all the teams — win, lose, or draw and to the referees who had to endure heaps of verbal abuse. Hats off to ISSA for completing an exemplary, successful, difficult competition with hundreds of matches, despite the enormous weather setbacks. Now on to next year.

More time.

Footnote: Still in the school system, that teacher who had a meltdown and cursed the student has been the talk of the town since the video went viral. The valedictorian at Edna Manley School for the Performing Arts who ended his speech with a big dutty bad wud was also in the news. Put them both together and the picture is complete. We have a composite of a school system that's in trouble. The teacher reacted badly to perhaps months of stress and turmoil from disruptive, unruly students. She was soundly berated by most people. I challenge any of you to spend one week teaching in some schools. You'd flee. And yet many people heaped praise on that young man who ended his speech with that big profanity, which actually denigrated women. See the juxtaposition? I have seen videos of young children cursing like drunken sailors right in front of adults and it's no big thing. We are a society in decline.

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