Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Like tens of thousands of other West Indians, I spent yesterday morning in front of the TV, anxiously counting down the runs to the quadruple century. And I'm not even much of a cricket fan. But I'm thrilled Lara's recaptured the record, & hoping that this time it means the beginning of a turnaround for the whole team--& not yet another lost opportunity.

Then I pick up the Express this morning & read this infuriating article:

A world cricketing legend.

That's how Prime Minister Patrick Manning described West Indies captain Brian Lara after he scored 400 runs--the highest Test score in the 127-year history of the game.

Manning issued the statement yesterday saying initially it is difficult to find superlatives to describe a man who has broken two world records in ten years.

Manning later telephoned Lara in Antigua at around 6.40 p.m. extending his personal congratulations. Manning asked Lara what he would like the country to do for him now and assured that the Government was making appropriate preparations for him on his return to the country.

The headline? "Manning to Lara: What do you want?"

I couldn't help thinking that no prime minister has ever asked, say, the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, "What do you want?" I couldn't help thinking how many calypsonians & musicians have died in poverty, & of Carlisle Chang's great mural The Inherent Nobility of Man, demolished in an airport renovation. Which isn't to deny the magnificence of Lara's achievement yesterday. By all means let's throw him a parade, give him another medal, name something else after him. But you can't build a civilisation on just sports heroes & beauty queens, however much we may adore them here in the Caribbean.

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