Tue | May 23, 2017

Oral Tracey's column

Published:Tuesday | March 17, 2015 | 3:00 AMThe biggest and most prestigious event on the Jamaican sporting calendar, Boys and Girls' Championships, is upon us again. To say that Jamaican sports fans get excited when Champs comes around could be classified as the understatement of the decade.
Anthony Minott/Freelance Photographer A Calabar fan (centre) cheers next to a Kingston College supporter during the fourth and final day of the 99th staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium in 2009.
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer. These beautiful ladies were out showing their full support for their respective teams at the 100th staging of the Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium in 2010.
Anthony Minott/Freelance Photographer Female fans of Calabar and Kingston Collegeat the Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.
1
2
3

There is a particular trend, however, that continues to irk me. This puzzling practice of girls and indeed grown women who turn out at Champs year after year clad in the colours, waving the flags and school ties and in some cases their face are painted in the colours of the top boys schools, Kingston College (KC) and Calabar High School, and sometimes Jamaica College (JC), when JC is a top contender.

These are well known all boys' institutions that have basically dominated Boys' Championships in recent years. I find it disturbing, especially in a scenario where Boys and Girls' Champs have been merged into one mega event since 1999.

It irritates me to see these KC and Calabar girls in full flight offering vocal and physical support to schools that they have never attended, while their own schools, whether it be St Hugh's or St Andrew High or Queen's, Alpha, or Holy Childhood, these schools also participate at Champs and most times are struggling for points and prominence.

Yet they are ignored by their very own students and past students who choose instead,to be groupies, hopping, skipping and jumping onto the popular KC and Calabar bandwagons.

These girls and women will invariably tell you that their sons, nephews, neighbours, uncles, boyfriends and husbands attend or attended KC and Calabar, or that their actual schools are sister schools to KC and Calabar. That, however, does not change the fact that none of these girls or women attend/attended KC or Calabar and the schools they actually do or did attend are right there competing at Champs.

One could understand if for one reason or another these girls and women refuse to dress up in their actual school colours or wave their own school flags, since those schools might not be prominent or in the running for the titles. But why not then stay a silent neutral?

It seems disloyal and unpatriotic to have your own schoolmates struggling on the track in need of moral and literal support and students or past students of those schools are preoccupied in screaming support of other schools

Make no mistake about it, this disloyalty or bandwagonist behaviour is also practiced by boys and grown men from other schools. I know for a fact of at least two associates of mine; one went to Meadowbrook High and the other went to Camperdown High, and religiously at every Champs for the last five to 10 years my friend from Meadowbrook gets purple blood running through is veins, and is among the loudest and most vocal supporters of KC, while my friend from Camperdown has more green and black jerseys with RABALAC imprinted than any legitimate Calabar student, past or present.

not life threatening

It's definitely not life threatening nor will it adversely affect the price of bread. But it certainly points to a general weakness in our psyche the fact that so many Jamaicans tend to fall into this bandwagonist category, basically displaying little or no loyalty or commitment to their own.

In a sense, it is an amusing paradox to see these girls and grown women playing the roles of KC and Calabar girls with such commitment and fervour being so much more engulfed and consumed with being identified with Calabar and KC, than the schools they actually attended.

I remember recently making a recent post on facebook in which I referred to some members of the KC fraternity as "cultists" because of the fierce loyalty and the biased manner in which they defend their school. I was summarily taken to task, not by past students of KC, but by three or four "KC women" who promptly posted "fortis for life" before proceeding to pepper me with harsh words of criticism for daring to refer to their dear KC as a cult.

It annoys the hell out of me and strikes me as so wrong, to see these "KC and Calabar girls" selling out and abandoning their own schools, for a few fleeting moments of hype.