Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Tony Deyal | Everyone knows Dave

Published:Saturday | March 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM
File Dave Cameron, president of Cricket West Indies, has received flak for his criticism of the knowledge of the game among female physical education teachers.

One thing you know when you hear the name 'Dave' is that you are dealing with pure and total comedy. In fact, the first time I saw Dave was in 1993. I was flabbergasted. Everybody I knew was talking about Dave and they all so wanted to see Dave that there were long lines queuing up for the pleasure. Even the American president at the time, Bill Clinton, was a big Dave fan and had a picture taken holding a Dave cup.

Dave was truly a wonderful person. He was completely above politics, and though thrust unwillingly and unwittingly into a position of power, he followed the straight and narrow path in a way that won friends and influenced millions of people.

Dave was not attracted to either money or power and stood up for the best interests of the people. I have seen Dave many times since 1993, and what is impressive is that even though Dave earned a lot of money then, the money is still rolling in and continues to do so in a big way.

Of course, I am referring to Dave the movie, which stars Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. In the movie, Dave, who had a side-job impersonating the president of the United States, was asked to make an appearance at a hotel. He assumed it was a matter of security, but it turned out to be a cover-up for the president's extramarital affair with an employee.

During his rendezvous with the lady, the president suffered a severe stroke that left him in a coma, and Dave was convinced to continue impersonating the president. Although the premise that someone with a name like Dave who, from impersonating a president, could actually become president, even for a while, is ridiculous, these things can and do happen, not just in politics, but in other spheres of endeavour, especially where considerable power and money are involved.

While Dave is someone you laugh at a lot, there are a few memorable quotes from the movie about being president and the responsibilities of that position. One of the things he talks about is how it feels to get a job.

He says, "If you've ever seen the look on somebody's face the day they finally get a job - I've had some experience with this - they look like they could fly. And it's not about the paycheque. It's about respect; it's about looking in the mirror and knowing that you've done something valuable with your day. And if one person could start to feel this way, and then another person, and then another person, soon, all these other problems may not seem so impossible. You don't really know how much you can do until you stand up and decide to try."

Even though Dave doesn't say anything about putting people out of jobs, or criticising people because they want to earn as much money as they could from jobs they have, especially when, like cricketers or other athletes, you have a short shelf-life, during which you have to earn as much as possible for an uncertain future, there is an interesting conversation between Dave and Ellen, the wife of the real president.

Ellen asked Dave what he did for a living, and he replied that he ran a temp agency, finding jobs for people. She started laughing, and he asked, "What's so funny?" Her answer was, "It's just, it's more than most people do around here." Ellen also pointed out, "When you hurt someone intentionally, that is not a mistake."

This is where the former West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), now known as Cricket West Indies, comes into the picture, but not the movie because it is a still picture. In other words, it is still responsible for West Indies cricket; the representative team is still plummeting in the standings in every form of the game; it is still losing to everyone, including Afghanistan and lower ranked teams; is still fighting with its top players; and, from what I see, is still as parochial and prejudiced as it ever was.

What is even worse is that it is still myopic enough to continue to believe that it is going to become a winning team by saying so repeatedly and not recognising the truth of the aphorism by Abraham Lincoln, "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."


Who's to blame


The 'still' that got me is the continued and still ongoing belief that blaming others will take pressure off your inadequacy, incompetence, and incapability. Here is a quote from Dave, not the movie, but the president of CWI (Cameron), in an article in commenting on the waning popularity of cricket in Jamaica, which has given to West Indies cricket players like Michael Holding, Lawrence Rowe, Jeffrey Dujon, Courtney Walsh, and Chris Gayle.

Dave said to the Jamaica Gleaner, "It has nothing to do with the Government," Cameron told The Sunday Gleaner. "Firstly, we only have female PE teachers, which is a problem. Most of them don't know cricket. The game of cricket is very complicated. They don't know the history and neither are they interested. That becomes an issue. When we went to school, most of our PE teachers, if not all, were male. So they coached cricket, football, track and field, and we're not getting that anymore."

One response to Dave's view that female teachers have contributed to the decline of cricket in Jamaica was, "Dave Cameron must be either daft or dreaming of rivalling Donald Trump in terms of igniting fury with crass statements or not-too-bright comebacks to some of our admittedly not-too-bright cricketers."

Another from Jamaica educator and politician Hyacinth Bennett was: "I think there ought to be no room for mere moans and groans and muffled sounds, but instead, an unambiguous rejection of his most regrettable remarks is highly necessary.

Not only are Mr Cameron's comments ill-advised and woefully shallow, as well as biased and disrespectful of female teaching specialists, but I think his comments reveal that he is in a desperate quest to identify the scapegoat for the deficit with which he is obviously grappling in relation to the game of cricket under his own auspices."

While these and other comments are valid, it is possible that they are being taken out of context. After all, Dave is a comedy and, in it, as another film says, "The Joker Is Wild."

- Tony Deyal was last seen quoting Dave, "I'm the president, and as they say, the buck stops here. So I take full responsibility for each one of my illegal actions."