Columns

After the love is gone

James Moss-Solomon

Sunday, August 12, 2012    

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WELL, what a wonderful weekend we had in Jamaica and around the world as we celebrated Independence and the medals in London.

We certainly continue to make our mark around the world. We are seen as the toast of the Games by much larger countries that have never won a gold medal.

We should note the interviews of our athletes in victory and in defeat. All our medal winners have given intelligent interviews in language understood by the whole world. The men have been professional and serious in their self-analysis without being boastful.

The ladies have been in a class of their own. Veronica Campbell Brown (VCB) as always has been graceful and a role model as we have come to expect. She may be disappointed but remains, by her performances over the years, the highest achieving and most durable female athlete.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (The Pocket Rocket) has continued to expand on her admirable skill in making us happy, and bringing out tears of joy and emotions that will affect us forever. Even as we note the more mature expressions in victory this time, nothing can really hide the "little darling" smiles and jumps for joy.

Our beautiful and beloved Brigitte Foster-Hylton was emotional on the track but was poised and reflective during her interviews. She is mature enough to know that this little country will always love and respect her for her courage in returning after major injuries and surgery.

Yes, we are disappointed for her, but we are also filled with the happiness that this woman of courage belongs to us forever in our hearts.

That being said, we are our own worst critics when analysing and judging the performance of others in ways that are both disrespectful and stupid, and concern matters that we have never been faced with ourselves.

We carelessly make comments about disciplined persons who have dedicated their lives to the rigours of training and sacrifice, as we sit half-drunk in wayside bars.

Then there are the couch potatoes who send endless tweets and texts as they stuff their bodies with dangerously unhealthy foods. Then the persons who call the sports programmes to make comments when all that interests them is a chance to win a prize. Come on, people, that gives me no comfort that we are changing our outlook for future success. We should be builders, not demolition specialists.

When someone makes a final, it signals that the person is in the current top nine in the world that comprises seven billion people. Think about it, friends, if one of us happened to be the ninth richest person in the world, would we be criticised for not being the number one? Or would we expect to be harassed by all and sundry for a donation for our own personal gain while we are unemployed and unwilling to work? What do you think?

I believe we are the hardest people on ourselves, while not wanting to be the hardest working for ourselves. Yes, it is a major crisis of stupidity that we need to emerge from as we embark on the next 50 years.

Our dear prime minister missed a golden opportunity to steer the nation towards new goals as she spoke to an enraptured audience in the stadium and at homes across the island at the Grand Gala.

It is a moment gone, and opportunity of a scale not to be recaptured at a time when our pride should have been directed to higher heights. It is now history, and we shall not pass this way again very soon. When will we be encouraged to be a Bolt, VCB, Blake, or Pocket Rocket, in our own chosen fields of endeavour?

When will we make the finals of the individual events or the country relays? When will we take an interest in the things that affect our collective lives, rather than live vicariously through the success of a few individuals?

The national focus seems to be on individual achievements and this flows over into every team sport, with the exception of netball. Even in football we style ourselves as Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Napoli, Brazil, Argentina, France, but never require that level of performance here at home.

I think that at work or at play this country needs a reorientation towards collectivism and perhaps we should start with discipline.

The criticism that I have levelled at the "commentators and critics" should be recognised as a call to greater mental pursuits. The fact that they have the mental ability to wish to analyse, needs to be channelled to further logical investigation rather than emotion.

Need and greed are not their own logic. Examples are: does not having a job empower your right to operate an illegal taxi, or the lotto scam? Surely we need to debate rules, rights, and responsibilities. Let us use our brains for the right, not the wrong.

After the finals of the 200m for men I realised that I was also unable to express my intense feelings in Standard English. I was forced to return to the waterfront days and string together a series of phrases that, although described as "bad words", have multiple meanings, including intense joy.

As a justice of the peace I fined myself 120 shillings and donated it to the Grace and Staff Foundation Education Fund (remarkably so young people can master English at the CXC level).

On your marks, set, go, and in less than 20 seconds all else is demolished by three young men in Jamaican colours, and the world was watching. By the time you read this, more history and legend will be written by our men and women.

They are all great, we have even more greatness in us, and Jamaica can once again be great. We need to want to be a legend in something positive, for ourselves and our country, our children, grandparents, mothers, fathers, communities.

Jamaica, to the world!

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