On Target
June 2, 2006
One swallow doesn’t make a summer

The cynics might say that the West Indies victory over India in the One-Day series is a fluke. The die-hard West Indian fans will look at it as the turning point and a sign that the team has resurrected from its slumber.

There is the saying that “one swallow doesn’t make a summer,” and those indifferent to regional cricket, and others happy to deride any suggestion of Caribbean dignity may have that interpretation.{{more}}

The West Indies triumph over India came as a bitter pill to the Indians. Their record in recent history laid the foundation for a natural progression, and the West Indies was expected to be cannon fodder. The gradual approach to victory provided a source of pride for the fans, long starved of some motivation to live and excised of a spirit of euphoria.

The doubts of insularity have diminished, as the taste of the victory floats through the atmosphere.

The victory has come as a promotion for the 2007 World Cup which is months away and a precursor to the Test series that begins today. There is little doubt in the West Indian’s mind that India will crumble as long as the home team displays the pride that marked the players of yore. That outlook guided our existence and propelled us to a period of rampage.

As is the natural cycle, a combination of factors contributed to our sojourn of malaise. But the process was inevitable and we could never have accepted the position at the bottom as a normal occurrence.

There is the ICC Championship trophy in November. The West Indies has to qualify to try repeating the success against England in that epic battle waged by Ian Bradshaw and Courtney Browne.

Accomplishment of the almost impossible has become part of the West Indian fans’ expectation. Their cricket team is a symbol of hope for a people who have been distinguished by the anguish of history. Their quest for solace is deeply rooted in their interest in sport. The advanced technological revolution must not escape our attention. And even though we ought not to be copies of traditions that are not ideal or suitable for us, we have to use gadgets and lessons of the global arena, while still maintaining our unique circumstances.

We have been harsh on ourselves in sometimes the most trivial instances. And as creative Caribbean citizens, have mastered the art of survival in much the same way as the Garifuna people in Central America have succeeded in doing.

Instilled in us is that innate spirit of survival, which we have to shape to ensure that we keep on succeeding no matter what the odds are.