The get-rich-quick-fix syndrome

-Cricket and Life these days

Today’s offering is a (rather rare) tribute to, and agreement with the views of a fellow-citizen I regard as an acquaintance worthy of note and recognition.

Mr. T Jadunauth is probably quite well-known as a leading Georgetown businessman in Guyana’s commercial sector.  (He’s the driving force behind the Metro office/computer supplies stores and this is not merely free “advertisement”, but it reminds me that a few months ago he had cause to criticize sharply some government department’s seeming discrimination against his firm.)

However, whenever Mr. Jadunauth shares his views in the local print media – they catch my attention and provoke my concurrence, generally. Recently this gentleman expressed interesting opinions about Test Cricket vis-à-vis T/20, the current West Indian players and others, as well as the mirror-like relationship to young people’s lives and attitudes.

This column today therefore quotes a few excerpts from Jadunauth’s correspondence and offers brief comments.

“Most influential Cricket Administrators throughout the world are persons in their late 60’s.  A decade from now these persons, who currently champion the case for Test Cricket, will be replaced by younger Administrators with multi-sport involvements and multi-interests and will evidence a preference for shorter versions of cricket. Added to that, the outlook of players themselves will be multi-directional.  An international cricketer a decade from now will be a businessman in his own rights and will want more time to relate to his business(es).  In other words, the longer version (Test) of the game will be seen as affecting the other money-making interests of the players.”

In principle I am forced to agree with Mr. Jadunauth’s outlook.  My predicament is that I still appreciate the deliberation, the drama and theatre of “character-building” Test Cricket, but I’ve long come around to being impatient, like German tourists, with the fact that after five days there is a possibility that neither team actually wins!

Millions – and mentality

Another “conclusion” from Mr. Jadunauth: While test cricket requires a certain level of adeptness, fitness, technique and finesse to do battle for five days, the shorter versions of the game do not require of cricketers similar propensities. Kieron Pollard is a prime reference point.  He has made millions playing in the shorter versions of the game, but he is poor Test material. There is sometimes a wide gap between Brain and Brawn.

Other sports: baseball; soccer; squash; tennis; boxing; etc, etc, all start and end on the same day and pay bigger bucks than Test Cricket.  Also, body-wear reduces; recovery between games is more effective and players have the time to pursue other avenues of earning, even education. The viewership of one-dayers is also larger, thus an economic plus for Cricket Boards.”

There is a little room for me to disagree with some of the views immediately above.  Some T/20 cricketers Do have the mental make-up to apply some Test Cricket techniques when playing the shorter versions.  From fielding to bowling to strategizing on the field, can witness a transferral of cricketing mentality to both versions of this wonderful “gentleman’s game”.

However, mentality or not, it’s the physical ability of players to apply technique to on-field situations.

But here is a final quote from Mr. Jadunauth to illustrate how he transposes attitudes from cricket to life and vice-versa.  General modern-day life-styles influence attitudes to sport, claims Jadunauth: “Let us examine one base factor. We only have to go to our school curriculum in the Caribbean and the wider world to understand why our brain responds more favourably to short-term stimulae.  We have cut up core subjects at the GCE/CXC level into several sub-subjects.  Thus, when previously eight core subjects required greater research and covered more real-life territory, our students now write 16 subjects, many of which have overlapping content, research data are easily available and we have  replaced quality with quantity.  In effect, we are engineering future performance and, by extension, greater expectation for actually doing less.

This transposes itself into cricket, as indeed all sports the world over.

Another parallel aptly refers to how we behave at work or operate a business.  We no longer work harder; we work smarter.  We engage in Ponzi schemes; real estate scams. We build huge businesses with drug money and close down competitors via money laundering. The culture of “building a business” and all its implications has been replaced by the phenomenon of overnight affluence.  Hence the characteristics of customer care and product knowledge and courtesy are replaced by “take it or leave it.” There is simply less attraction and reward for the “Test Arena”, as it were, in business.”

The commentator then alludes to the diminished role of the home in this scheme of things.  Like him I’ve long been persuaded that “the cyber age” and poor parenting combine to offer the young very little guidance, Witness the youth of society now involved in crime, discourtesy, HIV prevalence, teenage pregnancies, etc.

Yes, I share Jadunauth’s views that what we see in cricket now – the short explosive span, the big, instant bucks, lack of concentration or application, all attest to society’s modern inclination to be summary.

From the Asian Cricket World’s T/20 money spinners to other instant, one-day-result sport, our sportspeople will earn millions but will also develop personalities with short impatient attention-spans and life-attitudes.  True, there is the aggression and tendency to “live for today”.

Look around and you’ll easily find evidence of the young seeking the quick-fix, looking to get something for nothing, even “wealth without work”. It’s the new, unstoppable age, but is it good for any society?


*1)  Remember that weeks ago I alerted those interested about how crucial the composition of those parliamentary committees would be?

*2)  I heartily agree: the status of our National School of Nursing must be restructured and upgraded completely. The students and patients both deserve the best quality at all times.

*3)  The London Olympics are about 145 days away.  Given that “this is Guyana,” do you feel we can assemble our best team for those games? Funding? Visas? Qualifying times? Leave? What will be our reality?

*4)  Apologies to the “regulars” who wondered about the strange brevity of last Friday’s column.

The solace is that I’ve not missed a Friday in nineteen years, except…

‘Til next week


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