You are here
T&T Demands More Focus, Commitment From Citizensa
And I'm lost again, it keeps happening
But when I'm around you,
I just go weak
And I wanna know, is it mutual
Am I'm ready to run, am I ready to fall?
I think I'm just ready to loose it all
Running, Jessie Ware
Full disclosure: I’m about as interested in sports as I am interested in eating a plate of pork. But there’s something about being in London for the Olympics that makes my relationship with the city take on a whole new meaning. After months of speculation, criticism and downright fear, it seems like Londoners will live to tell the tale of the Olympics without too many disasters.
Even the weather has obliged for the most part and there have been days of outstanding sunshine that would put even the Mediterranean to shame. Of course there are lots of reasons to be critical. There is still no proof that the wavering economy stands to benefit from the millions spent to put on this two-week extravaganza. Central London is abuzz with tourists but everyone wants to know how much they’re actually spending. There is still no guarantee that young people will be motivated to leave behind their Playstations and aspire to athletic greatness.
I guess the point is that governments and corporate entities and terrorists can’t dampen the human spirit and the desire to be the best. Perhaps one of the best things about the Olympics is the media coverage and the fact that the distracting antics of inane politicians get relegated to the third and fourth stories in the news.
Even I have started to feel slightly ashamed about my persistent bookishness and wonder how different my life would have been if I had actually made a choice to be a runner way back when I was in primary school and used to win races. You can even ignore the stupidity of sponsors demanding brand exclusivity at the Olympic Park. None of that means anything in the face of the roar in Brixton when Usain Bolt wins a race. None of that matters when you see a flash of Trinidad and Tobago on the screen.
It’s the kind of sweetness you feel when you’re having the best Carnival ever. The music is sweet and the North Stand isn’t shaky and all the forces of the universe fall into some sort of balance. Like you could share your pot of pelau with the world and sit happily and eat the bun bun with some pepper.
That’s the kind of sweetness I feel in London now. Just really happy to be here. And it’s as if all the endorphins released by all these athletes are settling over the city like a big cloud of happiness and as if by osmosis, Londoners seem to be happier, more helpful, less likely to shove you out of the way on the Underground.
Or maybe it’s just my imagination. Maybe I want to be optimistic for the sake of not dampening my spirits with news from home. Maybe I am hopeful that if we were to pay more attention to our athletes and our artists on their own terms and not based on flightly visions dreamt up by bored bureaucrats. Of course the ones who always benefit from the hard work of others continue to do so. So many people giving their all. So many people putting in months. No, years of sacrifice for this moment to happen.
And while we focus on the stupidities of some, we distract ourselves from the true efforts of others. To make us proud. To represent our every dream. It’s a hard road to walk, certainly. It must be hard to be the one on whom a whole tiny nation depends to feel better about itself. In the midst of such consistent disappointment from our leaders. We look to sports persons for a sense of purpose.
They’re not superhuman, these Olympians. They’re committed and focused and allergic to mediocrity. We imagine that they have some extra store of self-belief. We imagine that they have some secret ingredient that blocks out all the voices of doubt and derision and convinces them they are good enough to do what they do. I imagine they are just as terrified as the rest of us. Terrified of failure. Terrified of disappointment.
They do what they have to do despite that. They do what they have to do to spite their fears. Maybe our Olympians could teach our leaders a thing or two about focus and drive and representing Red, White and Black. Maybe we need to have training camps for politicians just as desperately as we need proper sports facilities in every single school and community in Trinidad and Tobago.
On the eve of our 50th anniversary of Independence we grapple with so many challenges it’s hard to say which is the most significant and most pressing. But being in London in this moment makes me think that focus and commitment are what we all need. Not to be superhuman, but just a little bit better at being human.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.