Note: This post was first published on my Medium page on August 12, 2017.
As it was in the beginning, so it was in the end.
Usain St Leo Bolt, who began his senior athletics career at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland with an injury and a last place finish as he limped across the line, also ended his glorious journey limping off the track — this time unable to finish the race, felled by a hamstring pull.
His teammates on the 4x100m relay squad, the rest of the athletes in the camp, and Jamaicans the world over are utterly devastated. This is not how we wanted the big man’s career to end, with a whimper instead of a bang. This was not it at all. But such is life, isn’t it? He is human, despite a decade of headlines likening him to machines and beings from outer space. One hundred per cent human, and his body just had about enough. Age and time catch up to us all, eventually.
Howdy, y’all! It’s been a while and a half since I’ve visited these parts. Didn’t have much of anything I wanted to write about, at least not publicly, so I’ve kept my mouth shut. But it’s World Championships time again, so chatterbox mode, activate! Couch Potato Pundit reporting for duty, Dutchie covers in hand. My neighbours are about to hate me again, but a so life go.
I’m sure Wednesday started out as a pretty typical day for Nicholas Francis and his family. Get up, shower, have breakfast, brush teeth, leave for school. Oh, wait. Lunch money. His father tells him to take what he needs from the money on his dresser. He leaves the house, heads to Jamaica College, goes about his day. School is dismissed, he probably stays back a few minutes to hang out with his friends or go to a club meeting, then it’s off to the bus stop to get transportation home. Only he never makes it back home. Some depraved member of the dregs of society spies the cell phone in his hand and decides he is entitled to it. But Nicholas refuses to hand it over, so he is stabbed in the arm and chest, then thrown from the bus, breaking his arm. He dies at the University hospital.
I witnessed it during the recent Rio Olympics, when some folks complained about the silver medal won by our hard-working women’s 4x100m relay team, instead of being thankful that our ladies didn’t leave the race empty-handed. I heard it in the murmurs about our medal haul – why didn’t we get more? If only So-and-So had done this or that differently or better. And now, I’m seeing it in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, as people grumble and complain that they were “forced” to spend money on groceries and emergency supplies, only for the storm to bypass us yet again.
When the good Lord was handing out athletic prowess to Jamaicans, He saw me approaching the top of the line, sighed and said, “No, baby love. I will give you strong carpal tunnels instead, because you’ll be writing writing writing.” I have no physical talents whatsoever, pretty much failing my way through PE every term of the three years I suffered through it in high school. I was also just not interested, so Miss Lyngo had absolutely nothing to work with out there.
My interest in sports is purely from an observer’s standpoint. I am a proud couch potato pundit. My only exertion comes from screaming, jumping, and dang near flipping my furniture as I cheer for my favourites. Being a fan is fun, but it’s also hella hard on my fragile nerves, which is how I know that even if I had been blessed with the talent, I could never make it as an elite, Olympic athlete.
Can you feel the shift in the air? The palpable excitement and nervous buzz? Do you feel even more patriotic Jamaican pride coursing through your body, knowing that our Emancipendence time has coincided with the start of Olympics 2016? Well, I do! I am almost beside myself with excitement and nerves as I wait to see what Team Jamaica will do at the Greatest Show on Earth in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.