If a fan of West Indies Cricket were to write a book today detailing his/her experiences following the team, despair, heartbreaking, disenchantment, anguish, and relief would be some of the most used words.
‘Hope’ possibly would be the one used most. Triumph, would be used sometimes and rather sparingly. But that would not deter the fan and more than likely his/her experiences during the triumphs would fill a large part of the book. For, unless the writer is someone who likes to torture him/herself with the depressing details of losses, then triumph would overcome; as the West Indies team did on Tuesday.
Who knew that the final test match of this West Indies-England series, at the Queen’s Park Oval was drawn? We were more concerned that the series had been won. “Whew”, the headline in this newspaper screamed, capturing perfectly our feelings. This win would be a big part of the book.
And therein lies the source of our anguish. We speak not from the perspective of a cricket commentator or someone who is intimately involved with the game but simply as fans, followers of the game and devotees, sometimes unfaithful, but devotees nevertheless.
For too long the West Indies cricket team has not been good to us. It has played with, teased, dangled and raised our hopes only to cruelly dash them down. All the fans have had to pay a price; probably with shorter lives, after all stress has an effect on the heart.
The writer, in his/her book would chronicle the tales of the die-hard fan, who, despite everything, follows the game and all the matches, hoping in futility that the next one would be won. This would be the outward pessimist but secret optimist, who proclaims that the team would lose, but inwardly wishes and hopes that the team would win. The scarred, who burnt by so many losses, refuses to watch the game but cannot help doing so at the end of the match.
Recorded would be the tales of the cricket fan, who has to work in the interior unable to see cricket on television but calls every half hour to “find out the score”; the story of the woman, who has work to do downstairs so the TV volume is high but even so her little son regularly shouts out to her about what is happening on the field; and the collective neighbourhood shout.
The collective neighbourhood shout, is what it is. It is when the West Indies team has managed to win and throughout the entire neighbourhood loud sounds erupt almost as if orchestrated. The bitten fingernails, the rapid heartbeats, the agony of the unknown, are all finished and the teasing of those, who closed their eyes and missed the winning wicket/runs begins. Sweet triumph; and this was the feeling last Tuesday. After 5 pm that day, the lame could have truly walked. The discussions about the game are still in full force and likely to be so for some time to come.
The one-day international series is coming up but the test series win was a good start. We only ask that the West Indies Cricket team do so more often. Now, if only we could have the day off to go to Providence next Friday and Sunday. (firstname.lastname@example.org)