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Mastering their craft
by Vaneisa Baksh
Dec 02, 2007
Recently in Trinidad, around fifty people gathered to have Sir Everton Weekes sign copies of his book, Mastering the Craft, and to share cocktails with the legendary cricketer.

There was an intimacy about the gathering, comprising as it did, mainly those of his generation and the one after. All present were not just aficionados, but readers, and many were icons of the society, and friends of Sir Everton.

Sir Everton’s book has been selected as required reading for the compulsory Caribbean Civilization course at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies. It is a brilliant choice that represents a step in the right direction in terms of the kind of education we offer our youth, and Dr John Campbell, course coordinator, must be commended for this step. It is this kind of thinking that makes the link between understanding the development of a society by looking at the lives of its individuals and their specific journeys, rather than basing study on impersonal data that never offers a familiar face. Sir Everton had been in Trinidad to talk with students of the course, giving them an opportunity to discuss issues raised within the book and to talk generally about West Indies cricket. He reported satisfaction with the nature of that discourse, on the issues raised, and mentioned something that seemed startling until it sunk in how common it might possibly be.

One student, he related, around nineteen or so, said he had never read a book in its entirety, but he had been so gripped by Sir Everton’s story that he read it from cover to cover. There was a collective gasp as Sir Everton related this – it had had to be taken philosophically to stomach the implications – as all pondered this abandonment of the culture of reading. But on the other hand, it is all the more reason to celebrate Dr Campbell’s foresight in making it compulsory reading.

Keith Smith, the real doyen of West Indian newspaper writers, declared that by the time he had read the first few chapters of the book, he knew exactly what was wrong with West Indies cricket and for that insight alone this book deserves a place as one of the finest expositions of its innards in all its complexity.

For the cricketers already on the back foot in Zimbabwe, it should have been compulsory reading as well.
 
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