Columns

The 'game of the world' is on!

Barbara
Gloudon

Friday, June 15, 2018

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Everything is already on the move as the dedicated fans and players are unleashing their power on each other from nearly every corner of the world.

“Soccer is not a play-play thing,” one devoted man has been heard to say as he reinforced his own declaration of the “game of the world”. A simple statement was not enough. What is needed, he said, was the good sense of world leaders to recognise that soccer should be given the number one place of serious business for every nation. No, he wasn't trying to excuse the fact that many workplaces will find their employees glued to the TV instead of their work. Mr Soccer Fan was making a serious point.

To him, the “great game” is of major importance, and he wants the entire world to accept his views. “Every nation on the Earth should have world-class football fields to make sure that the youth get a chance to play the game at the highest standard.” He continued that, “In those countries where 'ballers' are not doing their best, they must get support to improve their game.”

Some have taken the opportunity to move into a great tomorrow. There have been great rewards for those who have reached to the highest level, and this can change the life of the young men, especially, who become professional soccer players.

There is no doubt that many young men and women have used their football skills to earn a good living and uplift their families. The phenomenon of female football players has become one of the encouraging displays of courage and strength of body, mind and spirit, which make soccer such a valuable game.

For the great fan, his views were that, whichever leader of the world who is bright enough to place soccer at the very top of their agenda, was guaranteed to be loved by the people and not just those who support the sport.

The attempts to do better on the field of play in our nation has had its fair share of ups and downs. Sad to say Caribbean teams are not in the World Cup this time around, but the local fans will still fanatically support the nations that are playing. It has been a long stretch since those heady days back in 1998 when Jamaica's Reggae Boyz were at their best, racing down the pitch at the World Cup. In 2006, neighbour Trinidad and Tobago qualified and tried their shot at goal. Like us, they never made it past the opening rounds, and neither team has been able to qualify since, but we still try. Will we ever be able to get back to those glory days?

Whose highway is it anyway?

Last week Saturday, my daughter and I were travelling along the north-south leg of Highway 2000 to go visit with a friend who lives in St Ann. The drive along the highway was thankfully uneventful in these days of difficulties on our roads. Things seemed peaceful in the surrounding countryside as we went by. The journey was marked mainly by vehicles, most of them new models, hitting the gas to reach their destination quicker. There were also the signs calling attention to “climbing lanes” and “exit points” to reach communities.

By the way, what has become of the proposal to include fixtures and facilities for bodily comfort along the way?

As we drove, we made a bit of conversation about the battle which was being waged by politicians, each seeking their individual victory in arguments about who should receive the honour of having their name put in a place of pride on the highway. After Prime Minister Andrew Holness had announced that he would be naming the highway after the former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, an argument was stirred.

Supporters of the two major parties got into the thick of things. The People's National Party (PNP) took offence, declaring that it should be named after former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, and so the see-saw over who gave support to the building of the highway began. At the official naming ceremony, the PNP, in protest, refused to attend. Members of the ruling party, instead, took time to pose with Seaga, the man of the moment, as a large sign was unveiled with his name.

We have heard it said by some persons: “We have no time now for politics, no matter what is the day's selection.” Some have suggested naming the thoroughfare after an esteemed Jamaican. For them, that could be a teacher, a scientist, lawyer, anyone, but not a politician. The highway will have to grumble and mumble all by itself.

On our way back to town we travelled via the old road, taking sight of Faith's Pen — once a busy stop where the best of Jamaican family food was the attraction. All too sadly, the Faith's Pen we knew and loved is now a shell of its former self. Gone are the men and women who used to have meals prepared for the travellers going to and from town into the countryside. What has caused Faith's Pen to be so seriously affected? Is it the highway or the decline in the bauxite mining in the area? Whatever the reason, sadly, Faith's Pen shows no sign of the brisk business that made it a special spot.

As we travelled, there was more to see. As we drove nearer to Spanish Town, the politics of the highway lay behind us. We passed through the security checkpoints manned by soldiers and members of the constabulary force and headed back into town as more questions and answers about life in JA lay ahead.

Happy Father's Day

Dad, Daddy, Pops, Pappa, there is no shortage of names for the man who gave us names, too. My dad had brought me into the world and provided for the family on our journey. Unfortunately, not all fathers have been assets to us all, yet still Father's Day has captured the merchandisers' attention. In recent years, I have come across more stories of fathers who are doing the right thing. Watch the way young fathers are taking care of their babies. Watch them coming down the road from 'Children's Hospital'. The young guys know what father means. Respeck!

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@yahoo.com.

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