My Son Will Never Play Cricket
Sun, Feb 27, '05
Children are blank canvasses. Parents are the artists splashing the paint in an attempt to create an abstract masterpiece. However, gravity, the texture and position of the canvas as well as the viscosity of the paint, determine the eventual outcome.
I have never been nor have I ever professed to be a pure cricket-lover. An inherent fear of a hard, spherical object being hurled at me with my only defence being a narrow piece of willow, ensured that I would never be a cricketer. Long hours in the field, under the blistering sun, waiting, hoping a ball comes your way, simply was not appealing at the time.
Waiting hours to bat, walking out on the pitch, heart thumping, adrenaline flowing. Taking a middle stump guard, focusing on the bowler as he charges in, hoping his first delivery is wayward. No, it is a ball of good line and length, I must play a stroke, too late, the gut wrenching sound of a dislodged wicket permeates my soul.
I?m out, I know it.
I try to convince myself not to look back, no need to double check, that is an un-mistakable sound. Just walk. I managed to take two steps towards the pavilion but a force more powerful than my will ensures that my head turns towards the stumps. Before my eyes, a sight that confirms what I already knew, I am out.
From the height of anticipation to the depths of despair in a mere three minutes. A day and a half in the blazing sun, three hours in the pavilion waiting to face one ball. No thanks, torture should never be self-inflicted.
As I grew older and to this day, it became apparent that opportunities in cricket were very limited. No cricket scholarship is offered to universities at home or abroad. Professional cricket leagues across the globe where a player could earn an unsubsidised living only existed in England and Australia. These leagues then put limits on the number of foreign players allowed on the team roster. If you were not only good enough, but lucky enough to be selected on the West Indies team, touring involved being away from home for extended periods of time, for relatively miniscule amounts of money.
My son (Adam) was born on August, 15, 1998. Obviously, I had and still have dreams of him being successful in the sporting arena. At a young age variety is the name of the game.
One can never be sure initially, to which sporting disciplines if any, your child is genetically inclined. Furthermore, introduction to many sports will compliment the overall athletic ability of the young athlete. Developing the core areas of agility, balance, flexibility, co-ordination, speed, concentration, discipline and desire are of paramount importance and can be optimised by multi-tasking.
Adam has and continues to take part in swimming, football, gymnastics and karate. Over the past few months he has been persistently asking me: ?Daddy, when are you going to buy me a cricket bat??
I was planning to take him to Sports and Games, to purchase his first bat when to my utter surprise and subsequent disgust, I read the exclusive report in the Trinidad Guardian last Thursday.
The report was based on a memo sent by Digicel sponsorship manager, Richard Nowell to his chairman, Denis O?Brien, reporting on his experiences with the West Indies team during the recently concluded VB Triangular Series in Australia. Needless to say the report was scathing in a number of areas.
I will focus on the ones which have led me to make the decision to dissuade my son from playing cricket in a meaningful way.
I would like my son to always show gratitude. Nowell points to many circumstances of ingratitude. For example, many players who were demonstrating hostility to Digicel and its representative had no problem in accepting cell phones and sim cards from the very same person without as much as a thank you.
The players were responsible for purchasing their own dress trousers. Nowell went above and beyond the call of duty to purchase these for the players. Not only did the bulk of them not say thank you, many complained about the style. This illustrates, simply, a lack of class. To receive a gift and criticise it publicly shows no form of ?broughtupsy? whatsoever.
I would like my son to respect his elders, moreso his supervisors (bosses) and most importantly himself. Despite personal or professional differences, greetings must be extended and reciprocated. Not necessarily in the most loving, caring tones but a ?Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Night?, is an absolute must.
I would like my son to work hard and earn his money. The quantity is irrelevant. If you are doing a job, do it the best of your ability. Here it is we have players collecting match fees, bonuses etc provided by the team sponsor, through the WICB ($5 million in the red) and doing as little as possible to promote one of the hands that feeds them.
Furthermore, the team is a losing team, with a losing record over the past ten years. Its performances on the field of play are totally worthless. In fact, Digicel may be damaging its reputation by being associated with this bunch of losers. Remember a loser is not simply one who comes out on the losing end of a competition.
A true loser, is one who does not give it his/her all. A true loser is lethargic in training, only giving enough effort to get by. A true loser does not respect himself or his sport and is unable to differentiate between a time to focus and a time to frolic. A true loser is unaffected by poor performances and continues life as normal after abject failure. In short, a true loser, simply does not care.
If by chance my son becomes adept at a sporting activity, I will want him to lift the level of the players around him. I will want him to put more pressure on himself to be punctual, to work harder in practice, to get enough rest to perform at optimum levels.
The better he becomes, the more money he makes, the more popular he gets, the closer he must keep his feet on the ground. He must not see himself as being above anyone. When he leaves a hotel, the housekeepers, the waiters, the bar men, the maintenance workers, the receptionists, the security etc must remark without being probed ?That boy is well mannered,? or ?What a pleasant young man.? Nowell writes in his memo that on asking the hotel staff their opinion of the West Indies team, the overwhelming response was that they were ?rude, sourly and generally lacked manners.?
My son play cricket? NO THANK YOU!
Boys will be boys and I understand if my son in his younger years, gangs up on other children etc.
Despite being taught not to hurt other people?s feelings, there is still a great possibility that this lesson may not be taken to heart initially. However, I would hope when he is in his late twenties or mid-thirties that he would neither encourage nor be a part of ostracizing a teenager.
Nowell writes that young 18-year-old Xavier Marshall was ridiculed and left to fend for himself after agreeing to do an interview for his team?s sponsor. This alienation was spearheaded by some senior players.
Let my son play cricket? NO WAY!
Digicel I apologise for the behaviour of my people. Maybe, after the 2007 World Cup, you never know, maybe my son WILL be able to play cricket.
* This article appears by special arrangement with the Trinidad Guardian.