My Takes

It's Just My Take

What Do They Know About Us?

On Friday November 13th, I sat down to watch a FIFA World Cup qualifying game between my birth country, St. Vincent and the United States.  To me and the other people who proudly call this little island home, it was epic. (Unfortunately, the cowardly attacks in Paris hours before kick-off lessened its significance).

This had the makings of a David and Goliath-type battle except for the fact that David would be the victor,  St. Vincent had no chance.  None whatsoever.  It was our first time playing the US team and being on center stage.  I was quite happy and satisfied with this accomplishment alone but still harbored a tiny ‘what if’ thought.

St. Vincent stunned the United States by scoring in the first 5 minutes.  They were stunned and I was ecstatic!  My ‘what if’ thought suddenly grew one size bigger.  Unfortunately it was not to be.  The Davids in the yellow jerseys without name bands, had apparently given their Goliath all they had in that first 5 minutes and now had assumed their rightful and expected position.  As the game progressed, my ‘what if’ shrank smaller and smaller.  By half time, I was just watching out of sheer allegiance.  The outcome was not in doubt.

One overly-biased, at least in my opinion and I’m entitled to have one, US commentator surgically and negatively dissected not only the Vincy team but the island as well.  He did not allow their listeners to forget the fact that here was an underdog team that didn’t deserve to be playing on the same field as the USMNT and stated that the US men’s team was made up of professionals who made a living playing soccer while the Vincentians were part-time players and in some cases, unemployed.  (Such glowing commentary!).  St. Vincent was describe as a poor country with a high rate of homelessness and unemployment. (Unlike the good old US of A).  No attempt was made to promote this gem of the Antilles. At least I didn’t hear any.  No mention that many movies, including Pirates of The Caribbean were filmed there.  How about it being one of the few true unspoiled locations with exceptional diving locales?   On the Grenadine island of Mustique, stars and royalties including Mick Jagger and Princess Margaret, have summer getaway homes there.   Too bad this Yankee didn’t know this.  Or maybe chose not to mention it.

The commentator was right on one thing, we are small.  With a population of just over 100,000, getting to a qualifying World Cup match is reason for a nation-wide celebration.  (Heck, the entire island celebrate our students’ successes!) Vincentians both at home and abroad were ecstatic and showed it on various social media.  That’s how we are.  We are small but we are proud.  We celebrate our little accomplishments.  That first goal was the goal heard around the world.  The US coming back to score 6 is forgotten.  Oalex Anderson’s sweet goal is what we will remember.

Hold on!  Make that two things that the commentator was right on.  Our players really are part-timers and are all 100% Vincies.  We do not have the financial means to support a full-time team so the players are gainfully employed.  We also cannot afford to import international players from different countries like some teams we know.  So when we celebrate, we truly and honestly celebrate a team that is 100% Vincy. The return match is set for next year on Vincy soil.  The USMNT will have a chance to experience warm Vincy hospitality. They would see that we are not all that bad.  Go Vincy Heat!

Note:  Some commenters assured me that the commentator did indeed mention that Pirates of The Caribbean was filmed in St. Vincent and that Jagger has a home there.  I never heard it. If indeed he did, that two seconds would not erase his pompous attitude.

Again, it’s just…MY TAKE!


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25 thoughts on “What Do They Know About Us?

  1. Lance Stoddard on said:

    Commentator was downright critical of SVG, but he did make mention of pirate of the Caribbean being filmed and Mick Jagger having a home

    • Thanks Lance, I guess I missed those positive mentions. Probably while I was still celebrating our goal. 🙂 I found the commentator to be very critical of the visitors and everyone who I spoke to felt the same way.

  2. I have no idea who you are and which broacast you were watching. I was born and raised in St. Vincent and live in brooklyn, and i am proud of the fact that my little island made it to such a big stage. I have no idea if you were even listening to the game preview on espn like i was but Ian Darke who commentated the game for espn did mention all your facts about SVG and more.

    • Hey Calvin, I appreciate your comments as it’s good to hear what others think. There are always different interpretations. Maybe, like you suggested, I was listening to a different commentary. I am just saying it like I saw it. Had I heard the commentator saying the things I wanted him to say, I would not be critical of his commentary. Thanks again for your side of the story!

  3. Shelley Jones on said:

    Very well written article. No matter how much effort we put in we will always be considered small island, but those boys showed that they don’t have the mentality of a small island by scoring the first goal. So no matter how the game ended we were first. Vincy Heat, Vincy Pride!!

  4. Kiki Doyle on said:

    I’m also a Vincy living in NYand I was able to watch the entire game on ESPN2. Totally proud of the Vincy Heat team and like you said they truly did their best. However, I know that many of us didn’t like some of the chosen words used by the commentators to describe our little island, but to be honest the commentators were not negative to our country. The only thing that was mentioned that was completely false was the “homelessness” sutuation. The main commentator is actually British- the one who did most of the talking, and unlike what you mentioned in the above article, he DID speak about the Pirates of the Caribbean being filmed there, and he also mentioned that Mick Jagger owed a house there. At the end of the day, our team made us proud! What really irks me is that so many of us were angried by the commentators words, instead of the politicians back home who chose to still carry on their campaigning that very night the young Vincy Heat guys were in the USA representing us. Sometimes we need to put aside the politics and unite as one -All Vincentians. So when we look at other people and get upset about what was said about St.Vincent, we ought to look at ourselves and realised that there is a time for everything, the campaigning should have stopped and all eyes should have been watching our boys.

    • Thanks for the sober response, Kiki. I must have missed the instances you mentioned where the commentators spoke of the good things the island offers, for that I apologize. I listened the commentary with an open mind, not judgemental and I never got the impression that the commentary was favorable to SVG, but hey, it’s all personal perspective. You are correct, at a time like this, all eyes should have been on our boys, not on some idiot on the podium, firing bullets in the air.
      Appreciate your comments!

      • Open mind ? Not judgemental? , but yet you focused on what was not said? Don’t blame it on your celebration of the goal. What was everyone expecting from the commentators, Free tourism advertisement for SVG? Commentators are there to give their views and opinions, like it or not 🙂

      • Don’t misunderstand me, I am not focussing on what was not said, I simply implied some things that would have been better said versus what was said. (or what I heard being said).Stomping on the underdog is never nice.

  5. Just a next brainless US mouthpiece

  6. Augustus on said:

    The reporter is just another ignorant American. I guess he is not aware that a very large percentage of Vincentians live in better houses and eat healthier than a great majority of Americans

  7. Mauresa on said:

    To say that his commentary “left much to be desired” is to put it very mildly. I thought he was disrespectful and extremely biased; he brazenly displayed his ineptitude on cultural awareness… Out of place if you ask me and I was rather annoyed busy his statements.

  8. SoccerGirl on said:

    You admitted you wrote this with emotions and not all the facts, so you are forgiven. Yes, the commentators did big up SVG for 2 seconds and you clearly missed it. I know, your heart was beating very loud, mine was too :). Vincentians were already feeling like underdogs and could only hear what sounded negative. It was a competition, a profession team that plays soccer 24/7 and get paid to do so, against a team of players who play on their spare time. The commentators calling them fishermen, teacher, coast gaurd officer etc, shows that team SVG must be very talented to reach this far without having the same opportunities like team USA. Instead of focusing on the commentators, we should focus on what team SVG needs to do in order to go head to head with other teams. How to build confidence and strength, both physically and mentally. They also need investors (Ministry of Sports, etc) to invest in them. If we want the best we have to go hard or stay home. The great walls of China wasn’t built in a day. Maybe if we start now we will reap our rewards 10, 15, 20 years from now, we wouldn’t know unless we take the first step. That is not long compared to this row boat we have been rowing forever in the sports world. Lets stop feeling sorry for ourselves and looking for someone to blame while ignoring the real situation. Team SVG did well under the circumstances of lack of resources and opportunities.

    • Thanks for the comments and the forgiveness, Soccer girl. 🙂 I must have missed the 2 second big up. My apologies to the commentator for that. I still hold to my belief that he was heavily critical in his comments. No blame game here, like you said, they did us proud given their circumstances.

  9. You are wrong that they don’t have money to give them the necessary things needed. FIFA support their members $200,000.00 for 1st and 2nd round qualifier 3rd round 1,000,000.00 which is what they just earn for playing with the usa ..where is that money going .? Considering that FIFA was just outed for mass corruption. I wouldn’t put it pass the powers that be in svg to mismanage that money…all am saying.

  10. Well said

  11. Well said sir!

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