By Devon Dick
THE STAR (Monday, August 12, 2013) reported that a church service ended early on Sunday, August 11 so that the members could see Usain Bolt's gold-medal victory at the Moscow World Championships.
In addition, last Saturday, the T20 cricket match was stopped at Sabina Park in order that fans could see the 1-2-4 in the 200m for men on big screen.
It was a similar situation on Friday when the programme for the National Water Commission's (NWC) groundbreaking ceremony for the Mason River Water Supply project, which will benefit thousands of residents, had to be readjusted while citizens watched Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce win gold in the 200m. Ministers Robert Pickersgill, Horace Dalley and Collin Fagan had to watch and wait while the animated gathering went into a frenzy at the victory for the queen of sprinting, Shelly-Ann.
It was the same day that 18-year-old Calabar student Javon Francis showed maturity, skill and stamina to move from fifth place to second on the anchor leg of the 4x400m relay final.
Athletics inspires pride in Jamaicans. It gives us the feeling that we can be the best and beat the world in particular fields. It is no small achievement that most of the outstanding athletes are not only home-born and home-nurtured but are home-honed. They are coached right here.
It is no small accomplishment that the best male sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt, and the best female 100m sprinter of all time in terms of Olympic and World Championships gold medals, Shelly-Ann, are coached here, the former by Glen Mills and the latter by Stephen Francis.
reinforce a commitment
This concept of developing talent here and making a honest and reasonable living from it means that Jamaica could become the place of choice to live, work, study, play, worship, do business and retire.
But not only are we fast (on foot) but we are given to teamwork.
Our star athletes, Bolt and Shelly-Ann, in multiple interviews, reminded all that it took hard work and dedication to reach the pinnacle. It was not by wishing, it was not through luck or prayer alone, that greatness is accomplished. It was through the discipline of repeating the same drill until it is mastered. It was being patient while incremental progress was made. It was following the instructions of the coach and respecting the coach. It was going the extra mile in determination and having the self-confidence that it can be done.
We saw a Jamaican team which had good coaches, and athletes who were conditioned to peak at the right time, and athletes who went through a good competitive national trials and, therefore, they overcame the conditions of Russia to bring home nine medals, including six gold, the same as the USA.
Finally, we should hail the improvement in our analysis of the World Championships. Bruce James, TVJ's analyst, with his wealth of knowledge on the history of performances, did an outstanding prediction for the first three places in the 200m women when the foreign commentators got it wrong. He used data, not sentiment, and was spot on. Indeed, we need more data-driven analysis from commentators and officials.
Learning the lessons from athletics could inspire us to be a nation known for fun, togetherness, hard work, discipline, determination and prosperity.
The Rev Devon Dick is an author and Baptist pastor. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.