Some great connections...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Congratulations to Usain Bolt, Jamaica's first Gold Medalist at this year's Olympics. What a joy to see him run like him navel string cut pon it! Him run so natural, easing up at the end, looking around, slapping his chest in anticipation of victory. He's clearly capable of cutting back on that 9.69 world record time! Asafa Powell's performance was disappointing, but it was a great feeling to look at a field of sprinters who were all from the Caribbean, save the American, Walter Dix. Congrats too to Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago and Walter Dix of the USA, who placed second and third, respectively. I've three or four posts in the making this weekend, and there will be a couple more about sports, so this one will be relatively short. It ends with a beef. No commentator speaks of Michael Phelps, or spoke of Mark Spitz, as coming from the American swimming factory, and factory for factory, dem have plenty, plenty more factory dan we. So why do our sprinters come from 'Jamaica's sprinting factory'? Not so much a matter of being thin-skinned, but a matter of objecting to a comparison that's misleading. I taught Don Quarrie at Camperdown High School many years ago, and remember the struggles of the late Mrs Ivy Grant, founder and headmistress of Camperdown High, as she fought to support the young sprinters of that school, to secure training for them, to see them into national and international competitions. Happily or unhappily, things haven't changed all that much in the intervening years where training for our athletes is concerned. So there isn't anything like a training factory for sprinters in Jamaica – a recent article in the New York Times (by Duff Wilson, 20 July, 2008) says as much. As a poet and former media person, I feel strongly that metaphors shouldn't be random or decorative. They should be warranted, and this one isn't.