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I volunteer therefore I am
by Anonymous Writer
Apr 01, 2007
Now that the traveling circus have left the shores of Trinidad and the natives have returned to their normal way of life it has now sunk into my mind the true impact of the ICC CWC Cricket Circus.

On the first day of volunteering we were a happy bunch of naïve Trinis who could not wait to see the tourists and usher them to their seats and if called on we would have been happy to stand next to and fan the tourist till the prize giving .We were really eager to work for country and the beloved game.

It was a culture shock for us all when we went to the Queens Park Oval. We had a peek of it at the UWI warm up games as well. The biggest impression in my mind was the curtail of freedom in your own country. It was indeed martial law in the confines of a cricket ground .At the ground water was $12 TT a bottle and outside the fence and in the UWI café it was $4.50.A beer was $18 a cup and over at the café it was only 6.The spectators passed the bars and concessions and simply nodded and walked off. One spectator who on the first warm up game came with his own water was told he cannot enter the arena with his plastic bottle especially with the cap as this is a weapon of mass destruction. He was taken from the UWI by paramedics at 3 pm suffering from dehydration because he could not afford to purchase water at $12 a bottle. This was the highlight of the world cup for me. I continued to volunteer but the fire was out as I was moved by that cricket fan who waited a lifetime to be a part of the first world cup and almost paid the ultimate price. But we are Trinidadians and we innovate, Ziploc bags saved the day and our lives.

It dawned to me that the ICC does not care about our little countries and our economies. They are alien to the socio economic status of the spectators of cricket and the culture of the peoples of the Caribbean and even Asia, for that matter the world. They care only about image, ambush marketing and Television and money. They do not have the care of the people who keep cricket alive –us. Thousands of real cricket fans stayed away, they said they have self respect and pride and would not pay money to be treated this way.

The ICC twisted the arms of small island states to institute draconian laws to facilitate the world cup. Why? We have been holding ODI since the inception, and win loose or draw the end was peaceful .The biggest terrorist in the Caribbean is Rain as he threatens any game. We were stripped of our water food and our true west Indian flavor that visitors come to the Caribbean to take part in .We were told to sit quiet ,don’t be too loud , don’t disturb the spectators, but do have fun,enjoy the game. BULL.

How can you enjoy a cricket match and you can’t show your enthusiasm or disgust. Am I at the High Court or a pavilion? The biggest joke was that the 'nuts-man' who in Trinidad tosses his packs from the front row to anywhere was told by ICC that he has to deliver in hand the packets. No one has never been hit and if so only his pride is dented for not been able to make a clean catch. The nuts-man also had to change his sales pitch or his unique call to that of Nuts! Nuts! Our nuts men also are walking comedians giving and taking jokes, not at the world cup, they were muzzled .They complained and said meet us at the next ODI series and they would give you the answer .You could have seen the agony instead of pride in the nuts men at this gala event. Oh nuts (peanuts) was $6TT. In a normal ODI its 3 dollars. We bought only to save the nuts men from bankruptcy for they are essential as are the umpires is to cricket in the Caribbean.

All the while volunteering did have its benefits. I was able to see more cricket than normal (don’t say that you saw cricket as a volunteer though).I enjoyed the modified Queens Park Oval, I would enjoy cricket in 2008 who ever is coming to beat the West Indies.

The whole thing nearly went beezerk as on the first day at QPO the volunteer break out centre was shared with the police and firemen. It was chaos but we tolerated and survived .One ICC big chief walked in and told a Trini policeman (Afro Trinidadian) to get out! The ICC big wig being White South African. Well he nearly got a lynching trini style .The police was ready to walk off to their barracks and fire men were ready to head back to station. It was resolved but the specter of apartheid was alive. We lived it during the circus ,white bosses telling natives how to talk ,how to smile , how to welcome the tourists.

Volunteering is a calling, and you have to love doing. I wanted to be apart of CWC because I love the game, will always love the game and would do it again. The ICC must be empathetic to us ; the audiences. People of all walks of life make up the paying patrons and it’s the poor who sacrifices most to see their heroes with leather and willow .If we are to bring the championships back to the Caribbean they must think about the people.

It was sad to watch our Muslim brothers and sisters agonize during the lunch time as they were unable to get a venue for prayer. The LOC did not take into consideration the religious aspect of the spectators. It was the visiting Pakistani and Bangladesh who wanted to go to mosque. They were denied exit passes to visit the St James Mosque which was one mile away. These spectators were genuine in their need and were bluntly told that there is a no reentry policy. And they were visitors from distant land. What great memories. It was even difficult to get water to do their ritual washing before prayers .So much for empathy. It took a volunteer to go beyond the call of the ICC to put back the smile on their faces.

While all the security was at the cricket ground and life was peaceful, the drama took place beyond the boundary .We watch with anticipation the end of the Agatha Christie mystery murder, or was it Murder she wrote? I saw Mr. Bob during his Pak vs. South Africa at UWI and was looking at him with my professor of Soil Science –Prof Nazeer Ahmad consultant to the CWC.I was proud to see my old professor in the limelight .He love cricket .That was my last sight of Mr. Bob Woolmer .He is coaching in a better place now.

Who did it? I have one guess. In Trinidad we say call a name and I will whistle. I am ready to whistle. This world cup would be remembered for the wrong reason. The good work of the volunteers would be overshadowed by the drama of murder.

 
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