Dr. Fraser- Point of View
August 27, 2004
The Olympics and all that

Well, this weekend should see the end of what I call the Amerilympics.
It certainly wasn’t the Olympics, if one followed the NBC coverage of the games. We can always try to justify this by saying that it is an American station and they are providing coverage for their people. But America is made up of millions of people from all parts of the world, some are residents, some are citizens. {{more}} At any time there will, I imagine, be hundreds of thousands of visitors. Do you think that Bahamians or Jamaicans or people from any other area of the world are not interested in hearing about the accomplishments or non-accomplishments of athletes from the area where they were born, and to which many are still attached. So there are large numbers of residents of America who are dissatisfied with the Olympics coverage. Even some of the talk show hosts and comedians have been making fun of them. So ridiculous it has become!
By the time the Amerilympics is finished we would have known all the trials and tribulations of their athletes, we would have known just about everything they did or did not do. The American TV channels beam to the rest of the world. When Coca Cola pays millions for their advertisements, I believe they are targeting not only Americans but people elsewhere. So what is this nonsense all about? An American athlete places third but before they can even tell us who got the first two places, they are interviewing the American. It is really sickening. It is undiluted arrogance. It is the same kind of arrogance that took that country into Iraq creating problems for the rest of the world. In every race, even when the Americans are not favourites, the clowns they have as announcers/reporters/analysts, call them what you want, have turned them into favourites. In fact when you listen to them not only are you convinced that they will win, but you want them to. Sorry, not me!
Sports loving people everywhere look forward to events like the Olympics and World Cup. But those of us in this part of the world, in areas that do not have the kind of money that could win bids for television coverage, are left to feast on a dose of American verbiage. Why can’t they recognize that they are not out there by themselves, that there is another world outside their defined boundaries? Michael Phelps is the greatest thing since butter bread. In the 200m freestyle swimming event, even though he was clearly not the favourite, the American commentators expected him to get gold. Before the start of the race, it was all Phelps. But Ian Thorpe of Australia, the man they call the Thorpedo, wins the race and Piete Van den Hoogenband from the Netherlands secured second place. Phelps was third. So their response! After all he was young. Phelps is then interviewed to tell everyone why he did not win the event.
In the games which Americans call their own they were in for a rough time, Mexico beating them 2-1 in baseball; That was Olympic baseball, remember, not the World Series that is only played among Americans. Then to make matters worse Lithuania beat them 94-90 in basket ball and Puerto Rico beat them 92-73. This is all so sad. They put enormous pressure on their athletes and help them to build up a certain level of arrogance. Now, I am not saying that a country and a country’s media should not highlight the exploits of their athletes. I expect them to do so, but the Americans have gone too far. The world for them is America and that is what matters.

Banking Service
I don’t know if I am the only one who gets angry with the nonsense at our banks. I am referring here to situations where there are long lines but only two or sometimes three cashiers. What is responsible for this? Is there something in the logic of banking that lay people like me do not understand. Friday is usually a day when long lines are expected, but for some strange reason, this seems not to matter to the banking authorities. Is there a supervisor who monitors this kind of thing and adjusts to suit? I wonder!
We have been talking quite a lot about the provision of services and about the importance of the service industries in today’s world. I would have thought that the banks would be in the forefront of all of this. But what is happening? Is it about scant regard for customers or is it that in the logic of banking this has to happen? Are the banks short staffed? Really, if you look at some of them they would appear even to be overstaffed. So this makes absolutely no sense to me.

Rebuilding, We Say!
Then there is cricket. I do not intend to say much about the recently concluded series against England, except to say that there is something fundamentally wrong with our team. It is not about talent. Certainly not! Why are we taking so long to find out what is behind this prolonged period of under achievement? Part of the problem is really with the captain, Brian Lara. He confuses and mystifies everyone. All the authorities and cricket experts are baffled by his captaincy, especially his field setting and the use of his bowlers. Lara is an experienced captain, or rather player, and he does a number of things that anyone, even vaguely familiar with the game, will not do, so what is he about? My mind has been going crazy recently trying to uncover this mystery. I have even dared to think of that matter of bribery or even of drugs, but I do not believe that these are in the picture. But something is wrong and the
sooner we find out the better for us.
Then there are our administrators. For sometime now we accepted our mediocre performances and put a positive spin on them by saying that we are rebuilding. Rebuilding what? If we are rebuilding a team, why are we bringing back Courtney Browne for the ICC Champions Trophy? But Browne is not the only one, there is also our dear friend Mervyn Dillon.
Browne, I believe, is about 36 or 37, so how are you rebuilding a team with him? Someone has got to be mad. And just imagine, there are some persons talking about making Browne captain of the team. I was prepared to put this talk down to Barbadian hyperbole, but I have heard other persons speaking this nonsense. Because he has led the Barbadian team to success in regional games over the past couple years does not make this 36/37- year-old fit to captain the West Indies team. As for his wicketkeeping, this was never of the quality that one wanted to shout about. That was precisely why he was dropped in the first place.
There has got to be some madness in the method of the West Indian selectors and Cricket Board. (I have just been informed that Veronica Campbell of Jamaica has won gold in the Women’s 200 metres. That was not supposed to happen. There will be some angry Americans today.)