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!