Monday, March 26, 2012

Pride, Cricket, St. Lucia and Sammy

Sometimes it isn’t a good thing, but used properly, it is one of the most powerful ingredients of life. Yesterday I went to cricket (a fantastic sport for those few in the world…ahem…yes, the Americans…who don’t know what it is :-) at the Beusejour Stadium, just down the road from where I live in St. Lucia…went with 8 of my friends – a great bunch of people I must say – they make life a whole lot more enjoyable… but the wonders of good friends, that’s another blog post! I’m rambling and wandering…let me get back on track!
St. Lucia Flag and UNESCO Heritage Site, the Pitons photo from Jitan Tours
 So, yesterday, final match of the One Day, Limited Overs Digicel Series – Australia vs West Indies; Australia won the first match, Windies the next,  then they tied the third and Windies won the fourth is great style. So this was the one to win, to bring Windies cricket back home to the top, where all of us have been waiting a long time for it to return.

But sadly, it was not to be, a crushingly slow start to their batting innings had us all ready to pack up and leave…but St. Lucia is in a position it has never been close to before – two players on the West Indies team – an opening batsman, Johnson Charles and one of them the Captain, Darren Sammy…so Charles unfortunately went for ‘duck’ (no runs) but despite the awful start, we hung on waiting to see our Darren Sammy come on to bat…and OH what a worthwhile wait!!!!! Not just for the great fight Sammy and his various partners put on in the next however many overs it was – sixes and fours (home runs and ‘outta the park’ for the Americans) but also for getting and running the singles – for fighting like hell to play a good match, to put everything in for an improbable, but oh so wanted, WIN!
Darren Sammy, Captain, West Indies Cricket Team - photo from St. Lucia Star Newspaper
But what made me want to write is the PRIDE that St. Lucians finally showed in our Darren Sammy – he came one to thundering cheers, every ball was preceeded by chants of ‘Sammy! Sammy! Sammy!’ followed by the wickedly Lucian ‘Hhheee, eeee, eee EEESALOP!!!!’ as each ball was bowled…yes, it ain’t polite, but it’s how we do it! Brought from the days when only Indian ‘Flims’ and Kung Fu movies were all that played in the cinemas and half…no, probably 75% of the fun of watching was the ‘Eee-Salop!’

It’s a Lucian ‘ting.

Pride in our own however, is something many of us find is still way too lacking and I’ve talked before about how I believe we should have pride in Darren Sammy who has shown perseverance, growth and ability … seriously, he’s been Captain of the West Indies!!! For how long?! ?! And yet still, you’ll more often here too many Lucians dismissing him for one ‘reason’ or another.  Where is our PRIDE??? Be it Darren Sammy, Derek Walcott, Arthur Lewis, Luther Francois, Boo HInkson, Derede Williams, Laverne Spencer, Dani Beaubrun and a whole host of others we could be proud of on a whole set of levels…we act as though it’s nothing really. Nothing to have two Nobel Laureates from an island of 165,000 people, nothing to have the Captain of the West Indies Cricket team and another the opening batsman, nothing to have a Saxophonist who’s sought after by international musicians and two young ladies competing at world class sporting events…we’re the size of a small town in most countries!!! 

We should be blasted PROUD!!!!!

So when the stroke came and Sammy was caught out, 30 runs from pulling off a miraculous win of the match AND the series and the crowd rose, as one, to their feet and chanted his name as loud as they could over and over as he walked off the pitch, obviously overcome….my heart filled with PRIDE. For him and for St. Lucia…it was a deeply good thing to feel at the end of a long, long ‘day’. I hope he felt it too.

We all know he and West Indies have a long way to go to re-attain the glory we all want to have, but for us as St. Lucians, we should be blasted proud.

I believe pride when used well, is the core of achievement, the core of social and economic success – that’s how I feel. Granted real pride comes from real achievement … and to get that, we as a people and individually – at all levels – have to be ready and able to criticise constructively – give AND take – and to stop this CYA (Cover yuh A--) and take responsibility, take a stand, put the work in…but people, am I wrong in saying it’s well overdue that St. Lucia and St. Lucians start being proud to be proud? When we have people who we should be proud of, we need to be like we were yesterday at Beausejour….shouting it out loud for the world to hear…well-earned pride. 

What you say?