I'm (Slowly) Catching World Cup Fever

Mon, Mar 5, '07

by MICHELLE MCDONALD

Michelle McDonald As the countdown to the opening ceremony of Cricket World Cup 2007 started – marked by today's first warm up matches – I wondered when I am going to catch the fever. Then last night, my throat started to hurt, and this morning I woke up with watery eyes. Definite signs of a cold and fever coming on but, alas, the wrong fever.

Since I'm not really sure if I'll be working as an accredited journalist, I was smart enough to purchase spectator tickets, just in case the powers that be deem that I am not high enough on the media totem pole.


I picked the tickets up in Grenada last Friday. After a number of questions from the representative based in the Cable & Wireless office, including where was my confirmation letter – which I did not have – I collected my envelope with tickets to some of the games in Jamaica, St Kitts, Antigua and Barbados. You would think that would get me excited, but it didn't. The tickets are very attractive though, and should be kept as souvenirs, especially if when we win!

The media campaign here in Grenada has not really been powerful or effective, I have to say. Apart from a few advertisements on TV, featuring that less-than-catchy official song, and some 'Grenada Rocks' posters around, I haven't seen much in the way of promotion. Troy Garvey, Communications Manager of the Grenada LOC, said that the rededication of the Queens Park Stadium on 25 February, in addition to using it as a testing event, was to give Grenadians an opportunity to enjoy the facilities, and also get them excited about the Cricket World Cup.

"I would sincerely hope iWorld Cup ticketst would encourage locals to purchase tickets for the games here," said Garvey, who added that everyone who has visited the new Queen's Park Stadium is impressed. "There is little comparison to the previous stadium. This facility is state-of-the-art and among the best in the region," the Communications Manager said.

When I went to pick up my tickets last Friday, there was only one other patron there. I hope it was just a slow day, but after having a conversation with some colleagues today, it's evident that not everyone understands how to determine who will be playing in Grenada. Perhaps this is affecting ticket sales.

Assuming the top two teams from each group progress to the Super Eights, Grenada will have the following matches:-

West Indies vs South Africa
Sri Lanka vs New Zealand
South Africa vs New Zealand
Australia vs Sri Lanka
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka
Australia vs New Zealand

These are going to be some pretty exciting matches. Until I read through the ticket brochure very carefully though, I too was wondering how I would know which teams would reach the Super Eight stage. It reads "Note: In a case where (for example) A1 does not advance from the Group Stage, the team which qualifies instead will then become A1. this principle applies to all teams which advance from the Group Stage."

So a word of advice to Grenada: Unless Zimbabwe or Ireland perform miraculously well, the first match in Grenada will feature the West Indies. Promote that.

Last Saturday, I went to check out the La Sagesse playing field which will be used for practice sessions. The outfield was nice and green. The sprinkler was on. There is now a fence around the ground, and from what I could see, there is a new stand. Just from the outside, the facilities look adequate and will hopefully not attract criticism from any of the teams. I read quotes attributed to Australia's Ricky Ponting that registered their dissatisfaction with Arnos Vale in St Vincent.

Deep down, maybe that is the source of my unexcited state. Maybe I am worried that there will be more disappointment; that we won't deliver the best World Cup ever. Maybe I am worried about the Caribbean not really benefiting, if people come and have bad experiences. Maybe I am just worried period about what surprises are around the corner.

What I will be excited to see are the new and refurbished stadia. Grenada is really lovely. Wide aisles for spectators to walk through; chairs that won't give you a bad back by the end of the game and a very impressive outfield. While in Jamaica for Christmas, I did not go by Sabina Park. That I am dying to see because that is where I watched my very first cricket match in 1984 so it's a special ground for me. I've already seen Warner Park in St Kitts, and I visited the Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua during the Stanford 20/20 tournament so looking forward to seeing the finished product. Then of course there is Trelawny which will host the Opening Ceremony in less than one week.

I recall watching South Africa's Opening Ceremony back in 2003 and being very impressed. The names associated with planning our ceremony are well known in the cultural, movement and production fields. Although they say that starting five months ago was late for an event of this magnitude, I feel that they will pull it off and we will have a good show. Whether or not I will be able to see it live and in living colour, is still a secret.

For the next two months or so - Media Accreditation or not – I will bring you stories from CWC 2007. But first, I have to get in the mood. When the flight takes off from Grenada at the unsociable hour of 6:00am tomorrow, I will swallow two of those drowsy cold tablets which will knock me out. When I wake up, as I move through the airports of Barbados and Antigua, and arrive in Jamaica, I hope to be bowled over by the lively atmosphere, the VIBES, and I wouldn't mind catching that fever.