Monday, September 27, 2004

The Real Implications of a Winning West Indies Team

Quote Mark Alleyne: ["James Pearson is a good cricketer, England Under-19. He's struggling. He comes in, puts the CD on and he's just waiting for someone to say, `that's rubbish'. And he loves Lara and West Indies. The more he goes on about them, the more he's going to be isolated."]
2004/AUG/015697_ WCM_04AUG2004.html

The above quote was taken from a piece done with Alleyne and Piper, two black British cricketers in the article “What Happened to the Black Cricketer?” James Pearson the U-19 black cricketer has been on my mind ever since I read the article. And with the victory on Saturday and the raising of the ICC Championship Trophy by the West Indians I have thought even more about this young man.

I wonder what this win will do for him. Will he be galvanized by stronger self-belief that he can do it too against all odds? Will he know now that all he has to do is work hard and it will come? Will his perception of white administrators working against him change? Will the isolation brought on by his admiration of Lara the West Indies intensify or subside? Will he have the company of other inspired black and Indian youth on his team or on other opposition teams?

Are the West Indies players and the WICB aware of what is at stake if they continue to under-perform in international cricket? It is not just how much winning means to adult West Indians in Britain and at home but what it means to the future of the young cricketer in the West Indies and those in Britain in particular of West Indian heritage.

James Pearson now has a little something to hold on to but it wont last for very long. For young cricketers like Pearson to be able to hold their heads up and deflect the barbs of lazy, instinctive and brainless, West Indies must continue to do well if not win. We can’t afford to go back because the James Pearsons will have too little to draw on when they face the obstacles created for them by themselves and others. I hope Lara’s call throughtout the recent tournament, to keep our collective eyes on the prize is not going to be drowned out by the euphoria. WICB has much work to do, work they have either neglected or poorly performed for too long now.

I have seen others ascribe the poor physical and mental state of the West Indian cricketers on male marginalization and the strides made by Caribbean women. That assertion is in my view as pure balderdash of course because the decision makers and power brokers in the Caribbean have always been and continue to be majority male.

Here is another example where the outlook, attitude and chance of success of future West Indian and British cricketers of West Indian heritage, lay squarely in the hands of mainly male West Indians. I look on to see if the almost exclusively male cricketing West Indies fraternity of players and administrators will squander yet another opportunity to take up their responsibility to build for a brighter future for all of us but mostly for male West Indians of this generation and the next, at home and abroad.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Was Merv Right?

For about a year now I have learnt to dislike Mervin Dillon the player and the small part of the person I think I know . Why you may ask? Well I used to be okay with Merv the player until I realised that especially with his limited skills that he had done little to improve his craft. Merv could not bowl a slower ball, or move the ball and he could barely produce a yorker. That the most experienced bowler on the team could not bowl at the death of an ODI match got my goat. Merv has no idea how much "chueeeeps" I have directed at him.

He also appeared to laugh about everything, even his long stream of crappy performances. I would think this nonchalant man child has no idea does he? Absolutely no freaking understanding of his role. He has no heart, Mervin Dillon is just going through the paces. The last straw though none of my business was the reports that he had beat up on his wife. This is something that lowers a man in my estimation, like few other transgressions.

But why given all my negative perception, would I think that Merv could be right about anything? Amazingly, tonight, right at this moment, I think that Dillon's decision not to play through injury in the recent match against South Africa in the ICC championship Trophy was really ballsy.

I must state though when it was reported that Dillon had sustained a side strain and had withdrawn last minute from the team, the red flags flew up. Here we go again I thought, that no heart business. My perception of Mervin the quitter was not helped as the Ozzie commentator laid into Dillon for his decision not to play. He explained Merv was one of the best bowlers and that he should play injured for his team, for his country.

My red flags came flying up, right at attention. Here he goes Mr. No Commitment Dillon again. The Ozzie riffled off names of stars who had played with injuries after getting injections he said. But tonight after seeing "Real Sports" the HBO sport magazine program, more specifically the segment titled "playing with pain" and I was proud of Dillon the player for the first time in more than a year. He is still not a player I would tell any young bowler to pattern himself after except in this one aspect.

What is "playing with pain" all about? It detailed the lives of two ex-athletes who had become addicted to pain killers. The players started taking pain killers in order to play with injury, taking it on the chin for the team. Is it that the relentless win at all cost culture of professional sports does not exist in West Indies cricket? If that is so, is it a bad thing, a blessing? Or is it that Dillon's lack of intensity automatically protects him from this particular problem? Maybe it is an individual thing which has nothing to do with West Indies cricket culture. We have heard tales of players like Collins hiding injury and Edwards his brother coming back too soon after injury. From what I saw tonight though, whatever the reason for Dillon's withdrawal, I am indeed happy he decided not to play injured. So for this, I think Dillon is right.

It is these wholesome attitudes towards injury management that we must endeavor to build into West Indian sports/cricket culture as we simultaneously push towards professionalism and premier international standards. This is as critical as the adoption of technology into all our processes. Let us consider ourselves as fortunate that we don't have to learn these lessons the hard way. Others have already done that for us.

[Real Sports: Playing with Pain: Chronic injuries are common in the high-speed, high-impact world of professional and collegiate sports, and the pressure to play through the pain is intense. Athletes seek pain-numbing cortisone shots to get them off the training table and rely on prescription pills to keep themselves going through long and exacting seasons. Still, the pain often continues long after the season has ended and before long, pills are no longer sufficient. That's when some athletes turn to alcohol or illegal drugs to ease the suffering. Correspondent Bernard Goldberg talks to several athletes who have found themselves on a perilous road to drug abuse that started with a routine injury. Correspondent: Bernard Goldberg.]

Sunday, September 19, 2004


The sad news reached me yesterday that a young man of about 25 years decided to out his light in a very horrible way. His choice of exit from this world was to jump infront of a moving train. LAWD! I hope it was pain-free, an instant death.

The question remains though; what would cause someone to commit suicide? Does it take a special strength to take that fatal and irreversible step? Or is it just pure mental deterioration, a psychological meltdown that is required? I mean everybody has thought about suicide at least once in their lives but how many come remotely close to putting it into action?

Research shows however that those who do pull it off eventually, have had at least one unsuccessful practice run. Since this young man did the deed and one has to ask, how he got there? I figure whatever ailed him was as debilitating as any excrutiatingly painful disease. He must have wanted desparately to get away from the pain.

From what I know of this young man, he was brilliant and a homosexual. It also appears that most of his problems were derived from the latter. However to put his troubles with his sexuality in context, it must be known that he spent most of his teenage years in Jamaica.

Being a gay teenager in the Yard caused him lots of heartache and pain. Tough teenage years for any gay kid there, since Jamaicans are renowned for being homophobes. Due to this, his parents on the first opportunity, sent him off to university in North America. They had hoped that a more tolerant society would do the trick. They thought that they had finally given their child an opportuntiy to be his whole self and most of all a chance at happiness. Unfortunately though, it appears the psychological scarring of being a gay teenage boy, in the Yard, was already too deep and permanent for a cosmetic change of environment to really help.

One has to also consider that the new environemt here. I know from first-hand experience if as a young West Indian student one's mental health is not at least average, then a solo move to North America may very well cook your goose. Parents of young West Indians students, often have no clue about what they are sending their usually overprotected children to. They don't know that in North America it is cold not only in terms of the weather and but in terms of social interaction. The cold months are an average nine months of the year and that coupled with the fact that nobody gives a shit whether you are alright, is enough to push a mentally fragile person over the edge.

So this young man still tormented and alone, and searching for a place, called his parents to tell them buh-bye. Worried about what he might do and being all the way in Jamaica they called around frantically asking those who knew him to check on him. No one could find him or knew where he was for hours. The next time they heard news, they were told that he had killed himself by hauling his body into the path of a moving train; Sad beyond words.

Yet as it is with most suicides, this one leaves heartbroken family and friends, racked with guilt and burdened with unanswered questions. I just hope more than anything else though, that this young man has finally found peace.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Old Traditions: The Mystical & Supernatural

How many people remember the old stories about persons who were born with special gifts? And the stories of the scary occurances?

I remember the mysticism that surrounded unusual births; like a child being born with a veil/caul over its face, a breech baby or even twins. The child born with the veil has supernatural powers. They could communicate with the dead and/or see into the future. After reading two books by Tina McElroy Ansa "Baby of the Family" and "The Hand I Fan With" I realise that African people in the USA shared many of those beliefs with old-time Dominicans.

If a baby was born left handed then it would always be protected from obeah spells from others. No socouyants or lougahoo could scare them. The foot first baby from what I remember would be a blessing to its mother in adulthood b/c its birth was far from anything anybody could call a blessing. For twins, I just know that they are viewed with a bit of awe and wonderment. You are just downright special b/c you are connected to another human in ways nobody can explain or understand.

I fall into three of these categories. I am a foot first baby, the side of a twin and I am left handed. I eh know about any of these special twin brother and I are not as close as I am with my other sibs... as kids we fought on a daily basis.

My left handedness has brougt me frustration more than anything else, especially as a child. My parents at least gave up forcing me into using my right hand as they had done for an older brother but I was made to operate in a right-handed world without adjustments. I could not change the cutlery settings for meals for example...could not switch the sides of the glass or knife and was not allowed to turn my books at weird angles to write either.

Lawd di foot first ting well my mum had twins and then I had to come first and foot first ontop of all that. LAWD! I guess I owe her quite a bit in my adult life then....but it is not for this that I make sure that my mum is well taken care of to the best of my abilities. It is b/c she was a super mum who did wonders in dire circumstances.

Anybody else knows about these things? Maybe if you have an old grandmother around, you should have a go down memory lane with her...see what else they believed in, back then.

I Finally Joined the List of Bloggers

Well I am here......don't know what I am going to do with this blog right now. I suspect I am much better at responding than creating original posts. Well hopefiully I will bring my varied interests to the blog and my postings.