Sport fans’ dream weekend
Last weekend was a sport fan's idea of heaven. There were so many must-see events on television that I really pity those of us who chose to attend a function on Saturday night to see either the World Relays in The Bahamas or the fight of the century, Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather.
I pity those unfortunate fans because I am sure that without a handy remote in the left hand and a favourite beverage in the right, there was absolutely no way that you could watch (a) the second day of the Test match between the mediocre West Indies and the resurgent England cricket teams, (b) Kentucky Derby, (c) Game Seven of the basketball playoffs, San Antonio Spurs against Los Angeles Clippers, (d) the World Relays, and (e) the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. What a weekend!
The results went mostly as I had predicted. "Mediocre" (according to the soon-to-be head of English Cricket, Colin Graves) West Indies, who were missing at least five of their 'best' players who were on IPL duty,
batted soberly and responsibly to inflict another defeat on an England team that is in dire need of a major overhaul.
Mr Graves has an opportunity to do something positive by removing the coach and captain, who both seem bereft of the decision-making skills that are so necessary in turning defeat into victory on a cricket field.
For the West Indies, the hope of turning the corner has been rekindled by the appointment of Phil Simmons as coach and Curtly Ambrose as his assistant. These two men understand the nuances of playing the game at the highest level and seem to be free from interference from administrators who only have eyes for representatives of their own island/territory when selecting teams for important matches.
The insistence of the CARICOM Advisory Board on Cricket that it has a say in the decision-making of the West Indies Cricket Board will also help.
In basketball, I am a fan of Doc Rivers, the coach of the Clippers, so victory over an aged Spurs lineup was welcomed.
American Pharaoh was the pick of the three-year-old colts in the run-up to the Kentucky Derby, and his victory on Saturday heralds (for me) the start of a Triple Crown quest that will prevail this year.
Mayweather won his 48th consecutive fight as real boxing aficionados predicted. He is undefeated simply because he has mastered the craft of not losing. He understands how fights are scored by judges and does enough to win the majority of the rounds while making sure that his opponent cannot get close enough to knock him out. 'Ugly win' better than 'pretty lose'.
Anyone doubting that state-ment can ask JosÈ Mourinho of to-be-crowned English Premier League champions Chelsea about his opinion.
At the World Relays, Jamaica was represented by athletes who were selected based on reputation, not on current form. As a result, a coach who has meticulously prepared his charges for specific events was apparently not consulted (as usual) re team selections and, as a result, some of Jamaica's finest (based on current form) were withdrawn from events.
That Jamaica did reasonably well at these relays will only serve to postpone the realisation by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association that "dissing" Stephen Francis
will always result in actions that put Jamaica's performance internationally at risk.
What is so difficult in appointing Mr Francis as a consultant to the head coach, and having an agreed consensus before the departure of teams to represent the premier sprint country in the world?
How much longer will Jamaican fans have to watch spokespersons for national teams bob, weave and spin when asked to explain the sudden withdrawal of our fellow Jamaicans from international competition?
Will we have to demonstrate, block roads and call on our prime minister and minister of sport to intervene? Will there have to be a commission of inquiry before the truth about these withdrawals becomes public knowledge and put rumour and speculation to bed?
I do believe that Jamaicans deserve to know why these seemingly petty differences cannot be amicably settled before teams leave our shores. I am now demanding answers before the World Championships later this year.