Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Oral Tracey: We cannot handle success

Published:Tuesday | April 12, 2016 | 4:00 AM
WICB president Dave Cameron
Members of the West Indies senior men's and women's teams celebrate together after winning their respective finals of the ICC World Twenty20 and Women's World Twenty20 cricket tournaments.
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The Caribbean people and the Jamaican people, in particular, must be among the most talented, most creative and most resilient people in the entire world.

On the few occasions when we have managed to put our collective energies together, we have been unstoppable.

We seem, however, to have some serious and crippling flaws in our character, which make it most challenging for us to actually unite consistently for any meaningful cause. One such cause, West Indies cricket, has long been a victim of this debilitating fractiousness.

The recent and ongoing controversy raging across the region - ironically ignited by the recent success of the regional cricket teams - the direction the rhetoric is going, poignantly highlights some of these fundamental flaws.

The term 'crab in a barrel' has often been used to describe people who tend to pull down the progressive ones in their midst instead of supporting and encouraging their success. That is exactly what's been playing out since the recent success of the West Indies team - in the glorious moments when the Caribbean people should be enjoying the unprecedented success of our Under-19 team, our women's T20 team and our men's T20 team all simultaneously boasting the status of world champions.

Instead of celebrating and appreciating these rare and precious moments, the rhetoric has been toxic and the energies concentrated in the cause of tearing down the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and getting rid of its Jamaican president, Mr Dave Cameron.

It is nothing short of ironic that the catalyst for this ongoing bickering was indeed our success. The incessant calls for the blood of Cameron in the instant of the region's most successful on-field run in close to three decades, I think, merits some in-depth sociological and anthropological research.

So many among us seem so willing to subscribe to the fickle notion that winning these world titles was achieved in spite of the administrators, and not because of them, implying therefore that now is as good a time as any to launch the 'anti-WICB attacks'.

 

Pettiness, maliciousness

It would be understandable if this attitude emanated from some lofty and noble pursuit of a higher standard of consistency of excellence from our players and administrators, but the inherent pettiness and tone of maliciousness in the attacks, specifically against the board president, implies a complex and inexplicable personal dislike which defies rational discourse.

In what is supposed to be one of our proudest moments, we have degenerated to our divisive worst.

Not long ago, I was way down the wicket, in terms of my personal resignation to the fatal demise of West Indies cricket as an institution, after repeatedly witnessing and living the embarrassment of some stinging recent defeats in Tests and one-day internationals. Then came T20 and the near-immediate compatibility of this new format with the natural athleticism, pace and power of the average Caribbean cricketer. Flames of hope were rekindled when the West Indies went on to win the world T20 in 2012.

Then came the men's team and then the women's team of 2016 and the historic double, as the flames were now fully ablaze. But just for a fleeting moment.

Instead of gratitude and satisfaction, bickering has become the order of the day with past and current players leading the way, with the proverbial angry mob behind them. Misinformation and half-truths have permeated the air, as personal agendas have taken charge.

Lost in the quagmire is another potentially inspirational and motivational gem, transformed instead into another opportunity to self-destruct. Despite the obvious redemptive value of T20 to the region's cricket, we appear destined to drop the catch, as apparently we cannot handle success.