BitDepth 530 - June 27

Trinidad and Tobago enters football's World Cup, draws a match and loses two. What does it mean?
The road to the rest of it

Ready for dress up but nowhere to go. Soca Warriors paraphernalia line a fence on the deserted Western Main Road in St James on Tuesday last week.
Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.

I refuse to be saddened by the end of Trinidad and Tobago's World Cup dream.
On a sidewalk opposite Smokey and Bunty's in St James, I watched on as the final whistle blew and people began streaming out of the popular liming spot.
One man walked halfway across the street, stopped, walked back and then dropped into a crouch, his head between his knees, his shoulders against a parked car.
A policeman glanced at him, looked up the street and seeing no traffic bearing down on him, let the man have his moment.

What really happened, after all? We drew a match, we lost and we lost again, leaving Germany at the bottom of our group.
Brent Sancho was the ultimate World Cup victim for a few days after Crouch clawed his way to a goal on his convenient dreadlocks, then he put a ball in our goalposts for Paraguay.
So what's the net? Hero or zero? Or maybe just a footballer who came from Trinidad and Tobago to find himself buffeted by the unpredictable rigors of the game of football.

Even while Sancho was in the limelight and German television was gleefully replaying the hairpulling incident and sports reporters embraced the hilarious irony of dubbing it "The Hair of God," it all seemed to be a lot about a game that is a contact sport played at full tilt speed.
I think that it's great that we made it to the World Cup. I also think that it's pretty nifty that Peter Minshall designed for the Olympics, Brian Lara is a top scoring batsman, Wendy Fitzwilliam became Miss Universe and Derek Walcott and Vidia Naipaul earned the Nobel prize.

But I also think it's dangerous to invest ourselves too fully in these achievements because I'm sure that far too few of us here in proud T&T had anything to do with them.
Few people now hovering around the Soca Warriors are troubling themselves with thoughts like that though.
That's why it's important to stop right here, now that the road to Germany has come to an end, and figure out just where we should be going next.

And that doesn't mean launching an early campaign for the South African tournament, it means doing some serious thinking about what really makes this country successful and how we can begin making something seriously competitive out of it.
To that end, I propose a Ministry of Skills and Intellect, a think-tank composed of our brightest, least political minds gathered to harness the human potential of Trinidad and Tobago and planning a nation for the future that respects all its natural resources.
Put somebody really smart in charge of it, someone so smart that nobody in cabinet understands what they are talking about and then have the courage to do what they suggest.

They won't have the peculiar mix of charisma and crassness that gets people elected in this country, but the very talents that qualify someone for being a part of that type of contemplative council would make them not just a failure at politics but an incomprehensible failure at that.
These are the people whose ability to analyse and extrapolate can turn our potential into property and cash in those promissory notes an enviable bounty of talented citizens have been carrying around, tucked in their back pockets, all their lives.
All existing ministries would execute the planning of the new braintrust, which can only be an improvement, since they currently seem to operate on the basis of whimsy and political convenience.

And then there's you. And me. What are we going to do to make any of this happen? Apart from the amusing advertising scenario that put George Gonzalez in front of a World Cup penalty box, games aren't won by ardent supporters, no matter how enthusiastic, colourful and entertaining they are.
The game, whatever the field, is won by players, the ones on the grounds and the ones who get them there.

I don't want to walk through my hometown of St James ever again, hearing that solemn silence buzzing almost inaudibly with confusion and pathos.
I don't want our next great writer to surrender his calling because the odds are so hopelessly stacked against him, and being a bank teller would be a real career.
People of real talent and skill should have acceptable choices in a country that can manifestly afford to create them. It's not about football or cricket. It's about aspiring and achieving, and all of us should have something to say about that.
blog comments powered by Disqus