We Are the Best
Last weekend I took my wife to Boys and Girls Champs, and she is still in awe of the whole event.
Even though Wolmers slipped from third to fourth place, I was quite proud of what we Jamaicans have created in the form of Champs. In fact, I think it's time that we created a new form of tourism -- Sports Tourism -- that not only covers the World Cup, but also encompasses Boys and Girls Champs as the premier event of its kind in the world.
There are lots of reasons why I was proud -- the organization, the full stadium, the talent, the hard work.
I watched the high jumpers in particular, and wondered how many hours had been put into their preparation to do just 20 or so jumps and then call it quits for the year?
What struck me this time around was the love of school, which I felt as I walked in with my Wolmers polo-shirt and Wolmers cricket floppy. I could not even come close to the average KC supporter, however, who seemed to be willing to not only wear clothes for the cause but lose their voice, get a stroke and rub up with any and everyone in purple and white garb.
Mark you, there were other schools in their garb, and they had their drums and chants, but it was nothing compared to the numbers and cohesion of the KC contingent.
When one migrates from Jamaica, it is SO very easy to forget... what Champs is all about, and how much we Jamaicans love our high schools. I recall vividly sitting at a meal once, with other Cornell students, while each of us shared how much we absolutely hated high school.
Until it came to me -- I loved it, and I think most Jamaican alumni would agree that those were some of the very best days of our lives.
This is so very easy to forget, and to take for granted, and to overstep when we are driving down I-95 to an appointment, or complaining that the IRS is taking too much of our money, or fighting the racism that sometimes feels like it is subtly choking the very daylights out of us.
This simple love of school was the fuel for Don Quarrie, Herb McKinley, Merlene Ottey, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell and others. It makes Champs impossible to replicate for the world-class results that it produces, and turns our event into the envy of the athletic world.
It is just one of the experiences that makes it worthwhile to Move Back to Jamaica.