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T20 and T&T — a perfect match
The West Indies, and more specifically, T&T, are powerhouses in T20 cricket for one very large and embarrassing reason. Simply, we excel in T20 cricket because the characteristics of the game reflect the qualities of our society.
A T20 match usually lasts no more than three hours. It is fast. Quite unlike Test cricket matches, the athlete in a T20 match is not required to have patience, or prolonged focus and mental endurance. It is no wonder we fail miserably at Test matches, as the Trini temperament is much better suited to situations requiring less discipline and more impulsiveness.
In fact, T20 does not require one to think too much either. The game even tells the athletes when the bowling team can have more than two fielders outside the 30-yard circle. This has been called the “powerplay,” as if to make it sound more technical and macho for our special type of athlete, who prefers less strategic planning. Plenty brawn, plenty show and talk, but not much else. After all, Trinis prefer to “just do it,” as has been proven with projects like Tarouba, the Blimp, Section 34, and many other undertakings that were either just for “show,” or that have fallen victim to poor planning and thought.
Twenty20 cricket is also about taking risks. “Voop de ball” as hard as you can and hope that it crosses, or at least reaches, the boundary without getting caught. We real good at dat! It is just like on the roads. We risk overtaking a vehicle and cut in front just in time before an oncoming car passes.
“Lemme try ah ting and see if ah get tru!” as we pull out of traffic and drive dangerously on the shoulder. In T20, at least risk-taking does not involve life-threatening situations.
These risks in T20 involve big rewards of quickly accumulated scores. As a society that thrives on instant gratification, we love nothing more than to see scores jump by six runs after an explosive hit from our world class “voopers” like Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard.
With little patience and little appreciation of “process” we like it now-for-now. No wonder we change governments so regularly these days. Five years is not nearly enough time to complete projects the right way. It seems as if it is a vicious cycle. We don’t have patience with solid government policies, as they take time to implement and show success, so governments hustle and “voop” their way through trying to execute now-for-now yet poorly planned schemes.
Then we get vex and vote them out anyway, now-for-now. Likewise, on an individual level, we don’t want to wait to find a trash can to throw our rubbish in, so we toss it out the car. We need to get rid of the trash now-for-now without regard for the greater, long-term impact of our actions.
It seems that these days explosiveness, arrogance and aggression are rewarded, with no appreciation for the gentle persistence, discipline and patience of the hard-working individual. This is typical of T20 versus Test cricket, and typical of our society. Just as some prominent cricketers were hardly reprimanded for having been found partying with women in a hotel room during a tournament, Machel Montano barely got a slap on the wrist and I am certain all our politicians can still sleep at night.
A certain “doubles planasser” would have made a great T20 batsman as his impulsive and explosive reaction to swing his cutlass equates well with “vooping the ball” on the cricket pitch. I am still waiting to hear what his punishment will be.
Lack of foresight is also a necessary attribute if one is to excel at T20. Forward thinking is just not needed. In fact, as a batsman, if you think too hard, you might just get bowled. Less prefrontal brain activity is preferred, as decision-making skills are not a priority in this game.
Trinis are pros at this, as exemplified by a former health minister whose thought processing and critical thinking were absent from her speech to the United Nations in Geneva. Yet, these are the people we place in power. The problem is that, unlike T20, leading our country is not a game.
However, we obviously think it is a game. And as long as we continue to do so, we will be “vooping” progress, integrity and good leadership out of the park. Rally round T and T! Vision 20/20 indeed!
Carla Rauseo, DPT, C.S.C.S. is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at Total Rehabilitation Centre Limited in El Socorro.
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