Laurie Foster | This one's for you, dad
Save for the staging of the Olivier Shield, the long existing symbol of supremacy in the island's schoolboy football, the 2017 season, has just ended. It came with the finals of the Manning and DaCosta Cups. There is no sport on local soil that has proven capable of generating the type of robust competition and boiling passion as is the case with football at the high school level. Those who claim that there is an argument for track and field, need to stop and think again. Regardless of the level to which the temperature of any argument might rise after a questionable call, for example, a false start disqualification, no official is required to take cover or be escorted from the field by security personnel. This is what happens on and off the field in football and 2017 was no different.
Foster's Fairplay wants to congratulate both winners, with a special word of commendation going to Rusea's High School for their performance. Their head coach Vassell Reynolds for, after a few bumps in the road, molding this team into a powerful unit, having admitted that it was perhaps the most experienced in the competition, having a plethora of three and four year campaigners at this level. Reynolds had guided Wolmer's to the Flow Super Cup title winners position the previous year, but speculation is that this would not have satisfied the requirements which were for the win at the more prestigious level. He seems to be enjoying the Western Jamaica experience and surely, his confidence bolstered by the 2017 performance and the massive fan support that the school enjoys, he could be up and running for another joust with the top contenders again next season.
The next thing I will touch on might be self-serving since it is an area that comes close to home. During the season, without paying special attention, the performances of two television personalities who were calling the plays and doing analyses, were quite outstanding. Foster's Fairplay, with an ear for quality as a long held mantra, would like to single them out from what was a quite creditable bunch. The study was not comprehensive enough to refer to them as the best, but they duly impressed.
The first of the plaudits goes to Owen Hill who stole some of the passion from the field to bring it to his broadcasts. For someone confined to calling a play after it happens, to achieve this, was in this columnist's view, very special.
Then, one must also recognise Donald Oliver, among a few others who were given a similar role to his. He was superb, but the clincher that broke any conceivable tie - not suggesting that one existed - came from his summing up of the Lorenzo Fogarty epic saga. It was the story of the game despite all the drama on the field that held the spectators in rapture.
The left side midfielder whose father Anthony, departed this life when he was but three years old, was representing his dad who had won three daCosta Cup titles. This final was to be a tribute to him, posters heralding the occasion pasted all over. The young man was trapped in the sorrow of the moment and was in tears seconds before the opening whistle, having to be consoled by teammates. He could not finish the post game interview, covering his face midway and weeping in emotional agony. With the scores tied, he had scored the winning goal minutes before full time, saving his team the extra 20 minutes and the likelihood of the dreaded penalty kicks.
Commentator Oliver was on a descriptive high, recounting a story of father passing honours to son and carried right through to the match deciding goal. The last words on the matter were as if Lorenzo was saying to his father, "This one is for you, Daddy." Many commentators rehearse these gems before the event. This one could not have been.
Brilliant, Donald, good job.
- Send feedback to laurieFoster2012@gmail.com