I have made passing reference to it previously in references to migration, but in the midst of learning new things about the country we’ve moved to, we are also often coming to realize, outside, something about the homeland, and one of the latter for me, during my years in Grand Cayman, was the powerful impression visiting Guyanese sports teams left on that country, year after year.
Most Guyanese have no idea of the impact those athletes made in Cayman, and common sense suggests that they would have created similar good feelings for Guyana in other countries they went to, and as our squash team will be doing shortly in St Vincent in the regional tournament there. Frankly, I was once one of the unaware bunch. In my first year in Cayman, I would read in the press about this group or that passing through – particularly the rugby team and the squash team – but it was from the Caymanians that I gradually came to realize the value for Guyana in these visits. Time and again, in conversations about other topics, Caymanians, knowing of my Guyana connection, would spontaneously refer to the impressive sportsmanship and behaviour that seemed to be ingrained in the Guyanese players. I don’t recall that it was ever a subject in the newspapers there, but it came across vividly in casual conversations with persons one met in the street or at some social function ‒ they would bring it up, not me ‒ and it often devolved into some version of the “be proud of them” comment from the Caymanians. I should quickly point out that Caymanians are not pushovers; they are a conservative people, critical in many respects, and not often given to lavish praise to, as they would term it, “foreigners” in their country. That they reacted so naturally and so often with regard to the Guyanese players was a surprise for me, and to this day I feel most Guyanese are unaware of how much good promotion for us has come, in particular, from those squash and rugby teams who ventured overseas…..