Can I get a witness?
These days when the topic of #cricket is brought up before young people, you’re more likely to see their eyes glaze over with disinterest than light up with enthusiasm. I think this is a great pity, because cricket is such a fantastic sport.
However, I didn’t always feel this way. I too was once among the unconverted. Yes, it’s true! It was my mother who brought me out of the darkness. At ten, she forced me to watch cricket Š and I saw the light. Now, nearly eight years later, my prayers no longer go: “O Lord, why, why is that stupid game still on the t.v. ?” Instead, they are : “God, I begging ya, please don’t let Walsh get out before we get the last few runs!”
To me, cricket has it all. You can have it fast (Limited Overs games or the new Cricket Max format) or you can have it slow (Test matches). Cricket has high drama (Walsh or Ambrose knocking someone’s stumps out of the ground) and it has high comedy (Walsh attempting to bat).
The one thing cricket doesn’t lack is atmosphere, especially here in the #West Indies. The term ‘calypso cricket’ wasn’t coined just to describe the West Indian style of play on the field, it was also used to describe the ‘high mas’ off of the field. It was in 1950 that the late, legendary Lord Kitchener led ecstatic West Indians on to the field at Lord’s after the West Indies #team first beat England on their home ground. Even before that, West Indians had been mixing the fine art of liming/feteing with the finer art of cricket. Like all West Indian cultural creations, it is a beautiful thing, because the people put their heart and soul into it.
It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. Cricket is the one thing that truly unites West Indians. Like all other West Indian institutions, insularity and bickering rear their ugly heads from time to time in cricket, but they haven’t been able to break the bond. If only our political institutions could be so strong. Perhaps that is why we are so passionate about our cricket.
Passion, drama and comedy are always out in full force at #West Indies cricket matches. Not to mention music, drinks, nuff food and nuff wukking-up. Part of the gospel of cricket mandates that the home tour comes around the same time as Carnival and more recently Congaline. The result is phenomenal. From personal experience, I can tell you, watching cricket on T.V. doesn’t come close to the excitement of being there. Cricket is fun and not just because of the play.
First thing is the food. No hot dogs and popcorn! Nah! These are mere appetisers, for cricket is a game that requires Serious Food-rice and peas, chicken, pork, fish, coucou, pudding and souse, macaroni pie. Gorge yourself! You need a good, solid meal (or two) in order to maintain a high standard of Major Jamming and Wukking-Up all day. You also need a loud voice to heckle opposing players and their supporters, especially if the supporters are English or Aussies. Them people ain’t easy at all (especially the English. Never saw people drink so much beer in all my 17 years. I understand Banks’ sales rose by more than 25 percent last time the English were here. But I digress). The greatest thing in cricket is just observing. I’m not talking about watching the cuter players’ botsiesŠ and play of course. I’m talking about observing the mad people that always turn up at cricket.
There’s the irate fan hanging over the fence hurling abuse on a player and all his ancestors back to Adam and Eve. There’s the drunk foreigner trying to ‘Show we how he could wine’. There are people from different countries arguing vociferously, and exchanging low-down insults at the tops of their voices. There are the Certifiable Cricket Characters like our own Mac Fingall who has opposing teams convinced that he was ‘wukking obeah’ on them and Antigua’s Gravy, who never wears normal clothes and insists on balancing on the most precarious ledges of the upper level of the stand and wukking-up stink. There’s the ‘Trini Posse’, which is a whole bunch of crazy Trinidadians who jam the whole day regardless of what’s happening on the field. These are the people that make West Indies cricket distinctive.
Now that you’ve seen the light, how can you miss it? West Indies cricket needs youth to continue to support it. So whether you’re bringing a picnic-basket, conch shell, broad hat and a cooler of drinks or you’re just bringing your two long hands, I expect to see you there.