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Develop science-backed PLAN FOR SPORT
Now I am not a fan of the Olympics, or sports for that matter. My interest was aroused, though, when I began reading of the number of athletes from Trinidad and Tobago who are participating. Like any Trini with a healthy stinkmout, I told friends our campaign would be short-lived and that the athletes would be spending the majority of the games in the stands.
I was buoyed, though, by the early promise of George Bovell III. In a television interview recorded long before the games, this lanky young man had no illusions about the competition he was going to face. I haven’t held a rosary in many years, but I massaged those beads like fried channa after 15 beers as George readied himself for that “defining” moment which we imposed on him. The disappointing outcome of that 50-metre event is now history.
Distressed, as if I had lost the race myself, I called a friend who was once a professional swimmer. Jean Boucaud, who is now more likely to be found in casual repose beside the water than in it (sorry, Jean, I couldn’t help it!) told me of his Olympic bid and having fallen short by a measurement of time that it would take a breath to escape your lips. In his expert opinion, the 50-metre swimming race is won or lost on the block.
It is lightning fast and therefore imperative that you get the best possible start. This was perhaps where George fell short. I defer to the experts on that, because my area of expertise is intergalactic diplomatic relations. One young lady gave her honest opinion on George Bovell in the newspaper and quickly became the subject of a Facebook lynching. Her remarks earned her the most virulent ire I’d seen since……..since…….well since Therese Baptiste-Cornelis’ dynamic dissertation of delirium.
The hapless young lady suggested that she was very disappointed because “people take time off work” to watch dat race and he come last…brap brap brap. I am certainly not going to add to the venom that followed. By the way, who you fooling—takin’ time off work to watch a ten-second race! Even in the face of crushing disappointment, George Bovell III was a study in class and good sportsmanship. “In life there are failures and we must get up and move on.”
George Bovell III bequeathed us two legacies. He has stood tall and proud to represent his country, having made tremendous sacrifices, along with all of our other athletes, to show the world who we are. The other legacy, I am afraid, has me very upset. George, when you came out in your blasted fancy technicolor swimming glasses, your snug water britches and open hoodie revealing your eight-pack, you set a new and unattainable standard for sexiness.
I heard normally reserved women whispering comments that would make Oscar Wilde blush. That bloody picture was everywhere! Now all women think that this is how men are supposed to look. You know how much trouble you causin’ in people domestic affairs? T&T’s disappointing showing at the 2012 Olympics opened up a very interesting debate. I was surprised to see the passion with which folks have been defending the “Go T&T, you did your best!” ethos. Lookit, I am proud too! I nearly choked on my debbles when I saw cyclist Njisane Phillips defeat a German contender last week.
After that it was one proper cuta—after the next. Here’s my thinking: enough with the “Fourth fastest! Sixth fastest! Seventh fastest in the world!” This country needs to develop a serious, science-backed athletics programme to identify talent at an early age. We can’t be satisfied with “just being there” Sure, pride is appropriate, but we should certainly aim higher.
Also, showing support does not mean posting something on Facebook or meeting up with friends at a bar with a flatscreen tv. You were going to be at that bar anyway. It just so happens that the Olympics are on! If athletics were a band launching, things would be quite different. Eef you feel ah lie, you only need look back to the world-cup Germany bid.
During most of the qualifiers the support for the Soca (uggh) Warriors was lukewarm. When the team just barely squeezed through like a catheter in their game against Bahrain, everyone became team T&T! Trinis, many of whom are still paying for that trip, travelled all the way to Germany whereas before, they couldn’t be a--ed to find the Marvin LeeStadium. Trinis who barely have a grasp of their own language were in Deutschland havin’ ah time!
It is clear that there is a wealth of potential for this country to produce medal-winning athletes, but at the institutional level this must be taken more seriously. And as far as fan support goes, you could try getting to know the names of these athletes before you get to the watering hole.
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