Champions

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Chris Gayle, World Champion of T20 cricket speaks with the press after Tallawahs’ CPL 2016 Finals victory at the Warner Park, St Kitts and Nevis (Photo: Peter Adrien).

 

Jamaica Tallawahs are real champions! The CPL franchise, Jamaica Tallawahs, out-class; out-perform and out-played the Guyana Amazon Warriors on Sunday August 7, 2016 at the Warner Park Stadium, St Kitts and Nevis, in the finals of the Hero 2016 Caribbean Premier League (in what was really a rematch from Wednesday’s first Caribbean Premier League playoff qualifier between the regular season’s top two team) in what was a virtual no-contest. Amazon Warriors, the two-time finalist, stumbled badly after being sent in by Captain Chris Gayle at the toss and were bowled out for a franchise record low total of 93 in just 16.1 overs. Jamaica Tallawahs 95 for 1 (Gayle 54, Walton 25*, Emrit 1-13) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 93 (Tanvir 42, Imad 3-21, Williams 2-12, Shakib 2-25) by nine wickets.

Given the distress of the many Amazon Warriors’ fans (mainly Guyanese immigrants in St Kitts and Nevis), it was left to Gayle himself, to entertain the large crowd and give them some value for money. And the world champion, did not disappoint them. Gayle propelled the chase with his third fifty-plus score of the season, reaching his half-century off 22 balls and ending up with 54 off 27 balls.

The fact is, Jamaica is two-time CPL champions because the franchise is blessed with “real champions” as DJ Bravo said in his popular song, “Champion.” The song, released by Dwayne Bravo in March 2016, caught the imagination of all cricket fans after DJ Bravo, captain Darren Sammy and Chris Gayle and the rest of the winning West Indies T20 team celebrated the win over India in the semifinals of the ICC World T20 in April this year. The song begins with the words: “Champion, Champion; Champion, Champion; Champion, Champion. Everybody knows Chris Gayle is a champion.” In another verse it says: “Champion we are real Champion; Champion we are real Champion; Champion we are real Champion.”

Yes, Christopher Henry Gayle is a champion! Having previously scored one century at the beginning of the tournament, and having failed to unleash his Gayle-storm fury, the batting showman dominated the Amazon bowlers with a brutal half century and ended the campaign as his side’s leading scorer with 425 runs, third overall behind Amazon Warriors’ Chris Lynn and St Lucia Zouks’ Johnson Charles.

Secondly, Andre Russell is a real champion! DJ Bravo says in the song, “don’t vex if your name not call; We have to leave time to bat some ball.” He must have been referring to unnamed Caribbean cricketing champions, like Andre Russell. It is amazing how a champion athlete this young man is. Andre Russell, just recently married; restricted through injury throughout the CPL tournament and, not having performed exceptionally well with the bat, in the Eliminator on Friday 5 August, struck a 42-ball century, his first in T20 cricket, to lift Jamaica Tallawahs to 195 and set up a convincing win over Trinbago Knight Riders, sealing their place in the CPL 2016 final.

But wait! Not so fat! Do you know our Caribbean champions? Are you aware of the global celebrities in our Caribbean society? Or are you distracted by the voice of doom and disturbance that only speaks of hate for our high regional performers?  DJ Bravo, from Trinidad and Tobago, one of the most celebrated and sought-after global sports personalities, celebrates greatness (particularly black greatness, ingenuity and excellence), dominance (as in the influence on global politics and sports) and independence (the elusive dream of the modern millennial black generation) in his popular song “Champion.” Yes, “Champion” is a call to wake up the black man and woman as to who he/she is and his/her capacity to excel above the impediments that are placed before them by a civil society that sets our people very little to aspire; a state (government and status apparatus) that has turned against us as a people rather than protecting us and our interest; and a market which keeps unscrupulous businesses and investors rich by ensuring that the poor remains hungry, as Bob Andy taught in his song , “Check It Out” recorded in 1974. Sadly, many of our young people are distressed by “the voice of pessimism and doubt,” are rapidly losing their sense of identity – many of them do not even know who they really are, and what they represent. “Champion” calls us (all Caribbean people her and in the diaspora) to take action – dance the champion dance which says to the opponents, I am moving forward because I am a champion.

My people there is “an evil voice” that is orchestrated to depress us, weary us; frustrate us; romance our failures; and bring-down our best efforts in the Caribbean region, and would have you believe that our current cricketing champions are economic mercenaries in search of filthy lucre all over the world. They lie; this is the voice of disharmony in our midst; the voice that is bent on maintaining the status quo by any means necessary; the voice of the class that benefits from keeping the poor where they are and protecting the interest of the privileged few in our increasingly in-egalitarian Caribbean society (I beg you just take a moment and listen to Bob Andy’s song, “Check it Out.”)

On the contrary, we have produced champions in education, music, politics, economics, literature, science and technology and sports, just to name a few areas. DJ Bravo is right. Apart from our Noble Prize winners, (Derek Walcott and Arthur Lewis from Saint Lucia and VS Naipaul from Trinidad and Tobago), our current cricketers – Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Dwayne J Bravo, Andre Russell and Chris Gayle –  are world champions, sought-after by every global premier franchise and worshipped by millions because they bring people so much joy, so much happiness, and so many moments of pleasure and recreation, both in the sporting arena or in the living room. They make us as a Caribbean region and people more visible in the global society because they are so endeared to the Caribbean; they make us proud every time they are asked to celebrate their achievement (particularly in the post-match press conferences) because they always attribute their feats to God the Creator (a testimony to the Christian values instill in them as children – let Caribbean men and women do more of this talking instead of the persistent criticism of our young people).

Like DJ Bravo says, there are other champions. Allow me to humble present Warner Park as a champion – a champion international sporting venue; a champion at hosting international events, beginning with the 2007 World Cup until now. Each CPL match at Warner Park was a spectacle (some grander than others depending on what was at stake); a contest witnessed by an assembly of passionate and knowledgeable cricket fans; each event mirrored a re-enactment of the spirit of carnival with its splendor, colors, dancing, reveling and chanting. Warner Park played well; assisted the brave; punished the weak; but celebrated the exceptional. Kittitians have a right to dance to the tune of champion, because Warner Park and St Kitts and Nevis are champions – real champions. Well, my people; you will be better off for hosting the 2016 CPL.

But what did Warner Park teach us during the 2016 Hero CPL tournament? Thanks to Warner Park, we were forced to remember that we are one people; our hopes and aspirations are similar; our champions are our own Caribbean children; our champions love us and we should cherish them; defend them and celebrate them. Jamaica Tallawahs are the worthy Hero CPL champions of 2016, but like DJ Bravo said, they are our champions. We are therefore all winners; we all have a right to celebrate with Chris Gayle and Andre Russell for the pleasure they gave us are indeed priceless.

Paul exhorted in his letter to the Romans, “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” (Romans 12:15, NIV). Even if the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots did not do well, can we truly celebrate our opponents, the Jamaica Tallawahs? Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13, NIV.

Peter Adrien is an author, business coach, financial counselor, economic adviser and columnist. Visit: www.goadriens.com. Contact him via email: peter@goadriens.com; phone: (869) 668-9752 (St Kitts & Nevis) or (305) 848-7604 (USA); twitter: @goadriens; facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Goadriens

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