Who dare give that straightforward feedback of what might be happening in ‘our sport’? Before even going further a few moments to acknowledge all our regional athletes who have done us proud. However we know instinctively by its very title that cricket, ‘West Indian Cricket’ holds great meaning for the Caribbean. Yes, so who dare give that straightforward feedback? The avid cricket fan of course who has been following West Indian Cricket for eons now, who keeps with the game even with its highs and lows, close wins and misses. Who else? May be we reurn to that a bit later. But for now how about we go back to basics.
After the recent 2019 two match win by the West Indies in their successful attempt at The Wisden Trophy, The Guardian noted, the English team feeling of being made to look like “Calypso Cricketers” https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/feb/05/west-indies-england-calypso-cricketers-test?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other&fbclid=IwAR3rqSsmpHYpHaUwqmSujw4gaq7j6ptOIEWA16txlTktfG3BZSTVINRl9H8 To any, most ‘Caribbean Calypso peoples’ surely we would wonder at what exactly that could mean. But we did not have to wonder for long as The Guardian guided the way to understanding this phrase. The explanation was given that;
“There was a lazy way of looking at West Indies cricket in those days, and ‘Calypso Cricket’ was a big part of it.” It took Lloyd, Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall and the rest of that generation years to do it. “To show the world, that we were strong, intelligent professional people,” Lloyd writes, “to show the world that we were thinkers, that we had standards, that we could stay the distance, that in adversity we would not capitulate. That we could fight.”
Its clear from the explanation that generations ago the sport of circket in the region had a certain, almost tempted to say different, meaning for its players. Whatever the meaning it is often heard reflected in the comments of the stalwart cricket fans.
We did suggest going back to basics, and so we consider now the meaning of ‘sport’ literally. Sport is defined as active past-time. Generally when we refer to sport at this level its an active past-time that has established rules and guidelines and is played by those with a ceratin level of expertise. But alongside the first definition is also sport as a ‘fun loving person’ and sport as ‘light mockery’.
If we consider, Englands response to the two matches they lost in the Test match Series, would we in any way associate them with all three of the meanings or simply the first. Now let’s consider our cultural ethos, general approach to ‘our sport’ and surely few of us would debate that we easily satisfy all three with the latter, ‘light mockery’ sometimes coming from the transient, slow, irregular and at times in effective support given to or sportsmen.
Some have that love-‘whatever’ relationship with the game to safeguard from ongoing disappointment, so even with the high and hope of the Wisden Trophy win there is a tempered response. Some have simply turned to more ‘modern’ sports. And some again are in the trenches some players and the captain included, searching out that way forward. What a place to start put to agree on the meaning of the sport. Not wanting to be too morbid, about the current state of our sport in any way, but Psychaitrist Vicktor Fankl has highlighted in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ that, “when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”. Undeniably, there are structural and systemic regional factors that do impede the highest performance. But evenso, there is something called ‘mental coaching’ and sporting psychology that can go a long way to begin to bridge the gap and move us that much nearer to achieving the consistency that we all so desire.
So, to the players out there individually and collectively maybe a moment to ask, what does ‘our sport’ mean to you? And how is this working for or against consistent performance?
Who else dare give some feedback? Just Ma. SOOS. Ma Soos is committed to exposing or is it exploring the psychology behind ‘Some of Our Sports’ (SOOS). Look out next week as we continue to consider how we are making a sport of our sport.