“West Indies on the up – CT-20 2013 has been the bomb!”
I do not know who will win Caribbean T-20 2013 today, but I am, whole-heartedly, among those who accept that Caribbean T-20 2013 has been a bigger, better, excellently run, tremendous success! It has been a wild cacophony of noises and color!
Nothing like this, as regards fans actually planning their lives; personal, professional, family, school; around going to the arenas concerned, to see cricket and to party, has happened for years, decades even, not since our halcyon days between 1965 and 1995. This experiment was well worth it!
Not since Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards led teams that pulverized the cricket world, or, later, the advent of spectacular individual cricketers like Brian Lara, has the populace been so enthusiastic, entertained, enthralled, by our cricket, even if only for T-20 games; about three hours!
In especially the earlier two decades of that 30 year period, very likely armed with enough various victuals and strong drink, not to mention massive shoulders to carry Philips and Grundig radios as big as 20-inch televisions, folks from all parts lined up by the tens of thousands to see their heroes!
From as early as midnight the previous day before games, all, including actual active cricketers back then, noisily squatted to get into Bourda, Kensington Oval, Sabina Park or Queen’s Park Oval, to see the likes of (Sir) Gary Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, Michael Holding and others, even yours truly too! I made my Test attendance debut in 1965, aged 12, to see Australia being lampooned by the likes of Lance Gibbs, Wes Hall and Conrad Hunte, courtesy of accessing that confluence point of fences, at Georgetown Football Club and Georgetown Cricket Club – “Bourda” – on Regent Street in Georgetown.
I also remember, most vividly, even after being selected for Guyana’s Youth team in 1970, aged 17, that, as a final year student of Central High School in 1971, my very first time in that paying attendance quagmire, laden with everything “Old Sylvia” could conjure, and fit into a massive bag, travelling from Unity-Lancaster, to join the waiting throngs even before midnight, to see India v West Indies at Bourda.
What a thrill that was! Having seen, travelled to and covered cricket these last two decades, from 1993, nothing in my lifetime of cricket could replace that wonderful, extremely informative experience!
To be honest, I did not even know if there was such a thing, back then, as complementary tickets! Everyone were treated the same; badly!
Even Ministers of Government had to join those queues sometimes, if they wanted to see cricket. Oh, of course, they also tried diligently to garner votes!
Hey, especially Michael Manley, then Prime Minister of Jamaica, and (Sir) Errol Barrow, then Prime Minister of Barbados, both absolutely mad cricket supporters, had to get special passes and authorization from either West Indies or even touring team captains and managers!
Also, in passing, I wonder if our politicians these days really understand their non-importance. Note that when Ramnaresh Sarwan was re-selected to West Indies colors last week, to be addressed here next week, Guyanese, West Indians and cricket supporters world-wide knew that it had occurred, so massive, in some terms, were the news.
Conversely, I would wager monies I do not have that many Guyanese now living in Guyana even, do not actually know the name of the country’s present president!
Anyway, now, with all of the technology around, when you can stay at home or go to the mall, and still have blanket coverage on I-phone, television, or even that most ancient invention; radio; it was indeed a great pleasure to see patrons enjoying the ambiance, if we can call it that, of even louder cacophonies!
Additionally, in St. Lucia, attendees even have the excellent added bonus of seeing our girls play against South Africa in T-20-I’s. What a fortnight this last one has been!
The warmth of seeing patrons with Guyanese, Jamaican, Trinidad & Tobago, every other flag, even ill-placed USA, British and Canadian flags, enjoying themselves at the T-20 games, behaving, supporting, abusing even, as if there was no tomorrow, was as real and exhilarating as some of the cricket itself.
Indeed, in my recent travels in USA and Canada, there seemed to have been even more association to West Indies cricket by former natives than ever before. Even bad economies, shootings and natural disasters took back seats in discussions and enjoyment of this T-20 tournament; very refreshing indeed!
Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board, Queen’s Park Cricket Club, St. Lucia Cricket Association, Beausejour Stadium Management and Windward Islands Cricket Association, in cahoots with West Indies Cricket Board’s Events Management teams, should be extremely proud of this effort and experiences.
Yes, there has been the odd incident, but where in the world would there not be scalpers and touts operating when thousands want to attend some important event? For President Barack Obama’s initial inauguration in 2009, scalped tickets, initially given out for free, were sold for US$40,000. Take that!
So, Caribbean T-20 2013 was a great show of West Indian enjoyment; perfect preamble to carnival. Enjoy!