“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” – Isaiah 30:21
The first day of the first test (West Indies vs. Australia) is on Saturday 07 April 2012 in Barbados. At 7.00pm that evening the Rotary Club of Barbados South in collaboration with Cricket Legends of Barbados Inc. and the Barbados Cricket Association host members of the visiting Australian party (past and present players) at the Barbados Museum for a showing of the movie, Fire in Babylon, on the big screen.
“Fire In Babylon” by Stevan Riley, is one of the most delightful documentaries about West Indies cricket. It is a breathtaking 70s and 80s experience, not only for cricket lovers, to accompany the West Indies cricket team on the journey from the depths of despair to triumph after triumph. You can witness, one of the most successful teams in sporting history, the motivation behind it, the style of their play and how it changed the game completely in an era when there was so much social and physical change.
“The West Indies cricket team was essentially making a statement for black peoples worldwide in terms of reforming attitudes from rather primitive stereotypes that existed about the black community,” said director Stevan Riley. “They proved indelibly the potential of the West Indies and that black people worldwide would not be dictated to and most clearly not on the cricket field.”
The West Indies played cricket that was designed to win and through winning, they proved themselves and got that respect. Several players like Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall are some of the most adored characters in cricketing circles. Also, they were imposing or threatening characters, energetic characters like Colin Croft and maybe Andy Roberts. But even Andy, when interviewed, seemed like a nice guy, fairly quiet, but obviously very thoughtful, determined and passionate about his cricket and dedicated to winning – but a nice guy underneath. That is the stereotype of fast bowlers but they were all “nice guys”.
Even if you have seen the film before, you have a chance to relive that experience on the big screen on Saturday night, April 07 at 7.00 pm at the Barbados Museum. The fund raising contribution will be BB$100 per person and the proceeds are going towards the inclusive play facility for differently-abled and able-bodied children to play together for the mutual benefit of both parties. This Inclusive-Play facility, which is being built by the Rotary Clubs of Barbados South and West at the Sir Gary Sobers Sports Complex, will be first of its kind in the country. Tickets are available from Rotarians and at the Cricket Legends of Barbados Inc.’s Box Office at Herbert House in Fontabelle.
The evening starts with complimentary cocktails while we mingle with the Cricket Legends and the visiting Australians. We then proceed to watch the documentary “Fire in Babylon” under the tent. After the film the Cricket Legends and a representative(s) of the Australian party will answer questions from the audience. Then our guests move back to the upper courtyard for the after party where there will be complimentary drinks, finger food and live entertainment. Our charming hostesses will facilitate the conduct of a silent auction of attractive items.
The West Indies fans have certainly been pleasantly surprised by last week’s performance of the West Indies team against Australia, who are currently No. 1 in the world in the One Day International (ODI) rankings. At the time of writing this column, the West Indies are leading two matches to one in the ODI series with one match tied and one match to go. The West Indies team cannot, therefore, lose this series, an unusual position for the team to be in against most countries in recent times.
Fire in Babylon documents the change induced in a previous era. I understand from the Cricket Legends of Barbados Inc. that the current West Indies team and, indeed, many other youngsters, have viewed Fire in Babylon. Let us hope that the improvement which has been witnessed recently has been fired by the inspiration of the movie. Has the team been blessed with an internal GPS system of spiritual guidance which has allowed them to navigate their way towards the winning post?
Perhaps I should comment, from my perspective, on the principles surrounding the impasse between Christopher Gayle and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB): no player is bigger than the game; the Government’s role is properly to propose policy, enact legislation/regulations and create a user-friendly enabling environment for its populace; and WI cricketing public is disenfranchised in the context of the WICB governance system.
Caribbean politicians were correctly involved in the context of adult suffrage in the early 1950s, which ensured that certain elements of society, who were previously disenfranchised, were given the right to vote. In the context of cricket, the politicians need to become involved, at the legislation level, to redress the situation of “cricketing public suffrage” where only a small minority of the cricket public currently have the right to vote in the WICB governance system. Until a legislative change is made, on what grounds can the Caribbean politicians get involved with the decisions of the WICB on the Christopher Gayle or any other issue? Politicians please listen to the word behind thee and walk thee in it.