The Rio Olympics once again puts into focus how competitive and in some cases, how ungrateful us Jamaicans can be. This issue is by no means a new one, as we have seeing this playing out over the years, especially in the year of major championships.
Jamaicans have to be the most competitive and in some cases, most ungrateful people around. We create issues out of simple things and justify them to our liking. We can be so creative, we use little details which would have otherwise been overlooked, to form pillars on which we support our mixed up culture.
Peta-Gay Dowdie vs Merlene Ottey, Yohan Blake vs Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown (VCB) vs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, MVP vs Racers and most certainly Stephen Francis vs Glen Mills. The perception of these rivalries is what has garrisonized Jamaican athletics. I say perception because in most cases these issues have no legs to stand on and the notion of a rivalry or what we term as dislike cannot be substantiated, nevertheless, Jamaicans have drawn battle lines.
There is the Bolt garrison and the Blake garrison, the very large and growing Shelly garrison and the very strong and formidable VCB garrison. However, the mother of all garrisons has to be the Powell garrison, whose die hard members have barricaded their minds against the notion of anyone else taking his place, even as he seems to be losing grip on power.
The garrisons of both VCB and Shelly have been at odds for a long while. No one really knows what has caused the rivalry, as to date I am yet to hear from either of these ladies that they have issues with each other. They are civil on track and both seem friendly towards each other, out of competition. However, true to life, Jamaicans will look for and use anything to form the basis on which to start “mixup”. Some go as far as erasing all the exploits of VCB from their minds, ready to put her to pasture. While, some are ready to sideline Shelly, because they think she is not worthy of the acclaim she has been given. Sad to say, all this could have emanated from something as simple as VCB not sitting beside Shelly to put on sweats after a race, or Shelly not hugging VCB for whatever reason, after losing to her. We have turned the women against each other in our minds and created these garrisons which can’t be infiltrated by logics.
As the national trials loom, the garrisons are again boiling, as the older more seasoned don VCB, has launched the first shot from her armory, hitting at 10.83 seconds and the other don injured from earlier battles, has only managed to fire one shot, hitting at 11.09 seconds. This forms the basis for a war at the national trials, at the end of this month, where all arguments will be settled.
Bolt has also launched a missile 9.88 seconds, which has left Powell and his garrisonites stunned. In response the once powerful Powell, fired off a warning shot at 9.94, saying to Bolt, I’m still here and capable of standing firm in the battle.
We are a proud people, we believe in doing the best and if that means being competitive, even against fellow country men and women, then we will do so. It’s a pity that sometimes these athletes get caught up in these phantom rivalries that they don’t even know they are in.
**The views expressed in this article are those of the author (Kino Cummings) and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, trackalerts.com.