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An indisputable value proposition. One name, one man immediately comes to mind as an exemplar of the important critical mass of our distintictive features - our excellence. Frank Worrell. Period.
[Ron/eCaroh - February 2007]

A Worrell World Cup

Published on: 2/12/07 Barbados Nation

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON , a gift from heaven is handed on a plate (to paraphrase C.L. R James). Despite the blistering organisational headaches they must be having, the West Indies Cricket Board and its subsidiary, CWC WI 2007 Inc., have been handed such a gift.
The first match of the ICC World Cup on March 13 takes place in Jamaica between the West Indies and Pakistan. That day marks the 40th anniversary of the death in 1967 of Sir Frank Worrell ? icon of West Indies cricket and hero of the global game.
The coincidence of the dates was fortuitous, but had not escaped the attention of a small group in Trinidad and Tobago, who saw the potential for remembrance, salutation and reaffirmation contained on that platter.
Among the proposals to mark the occasion was a splendid one that the entire World Cup should be dedicated to the memory of Sir Frank. Under the bewitching light of this blue moon, the idea was handed to the WICB and its subsidiary, and the hope is that in their combined sagacity and respect for the West Indies, they will take it and run like crazy.
The benefits to be derived from naming the World Cup in honour of this man who represented the highest ideals sought in cricket and leadership are myriad and present an enchanting and idyllic way to lift the World Cup above the morass of negativity currently surrounding it.
Hosting the World Cup should never be reduced to merely fulfilling a contractual obligation to the ICC. The primary concern of those who have undertaken it on our behalf, must be to extract maximum benefits for the region.
The World Cup has never been dedicated to anyone before, and this could be one of the striking innovations introduced by our people. Sir Frank Worrell is beyond reproach as a pioneering figure in this regard. His record as leader, gentleman, cricketer and champion of equality of treatment stands impeccably in the annals of our history: a truly lustrous example of the noblest of our aspirations.
That he was West Indian before being Barbadian was evident in the way he stood for all across the board. Indeed, he did more than any of his predecessors to reduce parochial, insular and ethnic tensions. With him, a West Indies team that was one powerful unit came to be.
His legacy has been frittered away and much that he built has been eroded by the reinforcement of small-minded self-interests. To our collective detriment.
Can we deny that our region faces a crisis of genocidal proportions as we lose alarming numbers of our young people to various social and physical maladies? The list is so long that every one of us has had contact with it by now. A horrendous wave has washed over us leaving us anaemic as we haemorrhage our lifeblood away under the currents of educational underachievement, crime and AIDS , to name a few of the undertows.
At one with this is a loss of esteem, of self-knowledge, and mostly, of hope. To celebrate the qualities of Sir Frank would provide an inspirational centre that could go a long way towards reconnecting ourselves with the fierce West Indian pride that propelled generations to rise to the challenge of making something of the bleakness that was a West Indian reality.
If this region does not find a way to reconstruct itself, it is going to implode sooner than this planet. As it is, we are struggling; struggling to motivate our cricketers, our young people as a whole, and we need to be alert to every possibility, even as we seek to create them ourselves.
Sir Frank Worrell's life was cut tragically short by illness, but we can still mark the moment of his death by remembering what he stood for and in commemorating his life and his uplifting qualities on a grand scale we may find rebirth.


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