Letters to the Editor

The colourless royal box

Aneeke
Brown

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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One of the most talked about and prestigious athletics event in Jamaica is the annual ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' & Girls' Athletics Championship, known as Champs, held annually inside the National Stadium. It is almost surreal the atmosphere that Champs creates. A now five-day event is what many Jamaicans would perhaps describe as epic, as it has an extraordinary hold on Jamaicans locally and within the Diaspora.Champs is the talk of the town before, during and after the event. Once it approaches the colours of the island adjust from the national colours of black, green and gold to represent all the colours on the nation's schools. Near everyone will be decked out in the colours of their alma mater or the school they prefer to rep during this world class track and field spectacle.

Once you get to the National Stadium on any given day of the event you are hit by school colours. Not to be left out, sponsors try hard to be seen above the din. The athletes in their colours feel a greater sense of motivation when they hear screams and claps for their schools and see the colours of their school filling the spectator stands. The colours just magically merge and create an atmosphere for friendly rivalry and highlight the fact that the Peace for Champs Campaign is at work. It's certainly something special in terms of the number of people attending and in terms of the organisation of the event and its buzzing atmosphere.

I am proud to see the growth and development that has taken place with the organisation of the event. There's still room for improvement, but with time I look forward to more.

Now back to the matter at hand, while enjoying the hurdling, the jumps, the throws, the sprints, the middle and long distance races, among other happenings, I was disappointed by what I now call the “colourless royal box”.

Seated in the cushioned seats inside the National Stadium were the who's who. The “clearness” was blinding. What a sight to behold: school-colour-less senior government officials.

As I sat there right above the royal box, while all therein were royal, they appeared to be far from loyal with no obvious signs of support for their respective alma mater or favoured high schools.

While I do not profess to be a scholar of alma mater knowledge, I was able to identify the past schools of a number of the royalties. These were St Catherine High, Campion College, Jamaica College, Kingston College, Gaynstead High, Ferncourt High, and The Queen's School. Not only were most of the colours associated with those schools part of the primary colour scheme, I am sure it was not difficult to locate a red, navy blue, purple, sky blue and white visible attire for the event.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness had on Jamaican colours. Is which school that again? I recall he is a graduate of St Catherine High School. They are certainly proud of him. I suppose he would say he's being patriotic.

Pearnel Charles Jr had on a grey shirt. Which school is that, again? Though I am aware that among the many schools associated with his alma mater, Campion College, grey is one, the school has been represented by red and white at varied sporting events.

I suppose we can give “E” for effort to the Dr Peter Phillips, now president of the People's National Party, who was in a somewhat blue colour, not sure how “true” the blue was, but he was in a type of blue plaid, which may suggest some support for Jamaica College, his alma mater.

Anthony Hylton repped some colours close to his heart in his white shirt with his Kingston College logo.

Olivia “Babsy” Grange, in her white blouse, was certainly keeping it neutral and away from Gaynstead High, at which she was head girl in her time.

Fayval Williams was certainly there to give Minister Grange some company in the white blouse affair, though she went to Ferncourt High.

The one that bothered me the most, though, was Lisa Hanna, as she and I attended the same high school. Decked out in her three-quarter sleeved navy blue blouse and her denim jeans pants, for sure that's no colour of The Queen's School of which she was head girl.

These are just a few of the individuals who stood out in attendance, but I am sure there were many others sitting in the box and, of course, due to their lack of colour for their schools they weren't even noticeable to many in the stands. I find it sad.

The rest of the National Stadium was as colourful as a rainbow in support of their varied institutions of learning. They were proud to represent the foundation stone of their learning. The royal box, however, was dull and colourless — no school spirit, no school loyalty.

What a great day it would be in Jamaica when our senior government officials are able to demonstrate patriotism to other things in life apart from politics. For sure, when they are campaigning or being sworn-in there is no missing what party they represent: the orange, yellow, and green all tell the story.

Aneeke T Brown, MA, BA, is a sports enthusiast and chair of the Queen's/Grace Jackson Meet. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or brown_aneeke@yahoo.com.

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