Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cricket and Motivation

I’m not a bigtime cricket fan – I enjoy watching a game on TV or more recently at Beausejour Cricket ground just down the road from where I live…I can’t always pick out what kind of bowler is bowling, what stroke was played…ok, I can rarely pick that out…but I’m fan enough to be traumatized when the West Indies does not perform. And fan enough to still want to go to the Digicel series Pakistan vs West Indies matches later this month... but why I'm talking about cricket is because it has recently been making me focus on some things about motivation in our islands...

I still recall the match at Beausejour in the ICC World 20/20 last year where we had our big WI flag, ready to wave and shout…and I remember the sinking feeling I had before that match watching the Windies ‘warm up’…and Australia warm up…chalk n cheese. The Windies seemed like they were still sleeping and hadn’t stretched in months far less gotten themselves to a level of fitness that befits an international – or even national sportsman.
Me, Myrakle and Richelle at Beausejour last year - before the West Indies lost...
And the match that followed pretty much followed on that vein. We lost by 6 wickets. We walked back to Gros Islet, I had the flag, wrapped up around it’s pole…as we walked along the highway, I still remember an irate and disillusioned Lucian pushed his head out his car window and said “Gassah you ain’ bun dat flag yet, gassah bun dat flag man! Bun it!” I replied, somewhat taken aback and without much real fortitude... “Awah, gassah, awah...we go win sometime…”

So watching the last few over’s of the final this year in India, I was struck by the total concentration of both teams, and by the spirit of the Indian players who, of course, had the added incentive of giving Sachin Tendulkar a fitting send off on top of the desire to win after 28 years, and they’re on home turf…which much as we might like to think Windies would be in the West Indies…we ain’t one nation.

Sachin made the comment that he would like to thank the entire staff – and he listed off various parts of that staff – not one coach, a whole set of coaches, not one physio, a whole set a dem…if I’m correct, there are admin staff, a management team, even people to coach them psychologically. India is a big country, but I’m sure the Indian team, like most teams, practices a lot together – whatever part of India the team is based, do they go ‘live’ in that area for that time? I’m not sure, so perhaps someone can answer me that and if I happen to see Reds Perreira in the coming days I must ask him, I figure he’d know.

I remember listening to Down to Brass Tacks and some of the sports programmes in Barbados, must’ve been late 2009 or in lead up to the ICC2010 and hearing the calls for the West Indies cricket team to be based for long enough periods in one or other island with suitable facilities for proper training and practice…why is it that we don’t do that? Is it just that we can’t afford it? I know we’re small in the scale of things, but I just don’t buy that as an excuse…and how is it that we always expect to perform at a world level when what we provide would more aptly be described as a chukalickly likkle fing.

Sorry, but it is a dreamland we living in if we expect that just because we pay our team members a good salary, that and the ‘pride’ of being a West Indies player should be enough motivation for them to handle the rest on their own…I remember seeing Sammy’s face when he got out in that match here…the man was the picture of frustration…and while he may have his shortcomings…as far as I can tell, he tries to improve, listens to the critiques he gets and makes an effort to correct himself…so where is ALL the rest of the support that is supposed to be there?

It’s not just in cricket – I guess I wrote about cricket because so many people see and understand it – like I said, I’m no expert in this area, but it also symbolizes all that is lacking for our Caribbean when it comes to providing sound foundations for motivating our people to greatness.

We build big buildings – they look good, but when it rains, you notice, they have no guttering, their lower floors flood, the metal starts to rust, the wood to rot…and yes, a certain Stadium or two in St. Lucia come to mind. Hmm, de grass sure ain't greener over here...There’s no maintenance – or if there is, it’s a woefully inadequate provision, perhaps in some cases, and I’m not saying anything like I suspect anyone in particular, but it’s too often the case unfortunately, the funds don’t go on what they should go on either, so woefully inadequate becomes, 'might as well be nothing'. Government buildings, private buildings…roads, schools, everywhere you can see it.

And it’s not just buildings of course – I have to quote it again, Adrian Augier’s poem “How in the land of Walcott, can there be a drought of poets” We have no museum, no national gallery, no public sculpture – except for ECFH on Bridge St. Sorry, I can’t count those busts in ‘the Sqaure’ or at the Airport, I just can’t count them – made in China.
Our Public Art - photo from emeelis on panoramio
We’re faced right now, as artists and artisans, with another year of being in a basic little set a basic tents at the Island’s biggest event – the St. Lucia Jazz Festival – a basic palleted floor, basic plastic tables and flat, not fitted, tablecloths to cover…not a sign, not a banner, not a decoration to say “look, here, we’re proud of our culture!” Let me not go too far into how I feel about this event right now ‘cos I done talk enough for the day already. But suffice it to say, when we argued for better representation, it was met in some quarters with great words and feelings of support, but no budget for that (granted we asked fairly late)…but in others, it was met with a reaction that I can only describe felt as though we were being told “who de hell you think you are and what right you have?” I am not yet sure if I will participate in this event at this stage, where we pay US$200 for this set-up and many may realistically only make double that in sales…therefore, no profit for 2 long days and 1 long night of work…but whether I’m there or not, if you do go to the Jazz Festival on Pigeon Island – please patronize the ‘Crafts Village’ – especially those St. Lucia artisans that are there, check it out and DO let us know what you think…

So, let me stop wandering around on this topic – I am asking, where in this paradise island and our sister islands in the chain, where is it that we are supposed to find enough motivation day after day for us to achieve the greatness that lies stifled within? How is it that we can conceive that we will nurture greatness within our people when we can see that we are being asked to perform with what amounts to hmm, at best, a likkle kwas (end/almost nothing) of support? Where is the motivation? Give me some ideas…tell me something!