Last Sunday - somewhere between the flying of the T&T flag to celebrate the wicket of Namibian cricketer, David Wiese, caught by Tim Seifert of New Zealand off the bowling of Jamaican Andre Russell and, later on, the vigorous waving of the Guyanese flag as South Africa’s Imran Tahir took the wicket of fellow countryman David Miller - came the first new edition of 12 and Under on TTT.
A juxtaposing of conjured illusion and the real. Fun in close communion with joy. It's the kind of life people of the Caribbean Sea live – child carriers of hope, and franchise cricket with nominal hosts that are entire countries.
The marketing so enthusiastically embraced that a flag was once disrespectfully trampled in disgust when it was thought that a non-national player, with ostensibly conflicted loyalties, had been less than enthusiastic during a game.
No need to recap too much about the techniques employed to stimulate interest. Fly a flag anywhere and you are certain to find interest and passion. Sympathies to entrepreneurs lacking similar opportunities at the IPL, BBL, BPL, and the PSL.
My good pal, Peter, is stumped way out of his crease each time I mention the lone national on the Saint Lucia Kings team and when he cries “big island” bias and outright t’iefin. It’s all part of the fun, though. Fly a flag, I wrote four years ago, and you change meaning. Expressed that way, a simple contest can become the bombing of Kyiv.
By 2018 when I was hauled over the coals for my observations, I had already commenced support for the “T&T Amazon Warriors”, now minus the “T&T” and habitually beaten by a team hosted in a place called “Trinbago.” At the start of the current season, I was backing the “T&T Patriots” and was targeted by fascist nationalists (lol).
So, on Sunday, having been to the QPO twice last week in “neutral colours” (I love cricket and the CPL is great fun), the flag that flew for me emerged from atop the TTT compound when 12 and Under was screened for the first time in decades.
Halfway in, I wondered whether it was intended to have members of the 12 and Under audience smile till tears came. I thought it was me alone. Then I saw that entertainment journalist, Laura, and others had been experiencing the same thing.
A little barefoot boy in his living room in front of a shaky phone sang and turned a big man’s legs into jelly (borrowing from David Rudder and twisting a bit). Another 10-year-old spoke eloquently about his introduction to the guitar and went on to perform like a seasoned pro’. Franka is sure he will beat them all.
Eighty video submissions, yes 80, had to be reviewed by a panel comprising young, accomplished performers in their own right. Nothing against the old fogeys, but it was refreshing to see that a new generation of talent has been elevated to adjudicate on our future.
Now, true, I also saw the children of the Samuel Badree and Daren Ganga academies at the stadium. They too, brought strong emotions. The commentator had been struck by the articulate responses to babyish questions. The look of hope in young eyes. In some ways, the interviews matched the finest strokes over the boundary that day.
So, here we go again, against the rub of the “lost generation” narrative. Here we go again, the explosion of creative power. In one month alone, a cascading of creative expression – pan, drama, dance, music, books, film, and the hope the young bring.
Yes, cricket too. It’s just the national flag silliness and faux “nationalism” I have a problem with.
On Sunday, we added to this the babies among us. However short on videographic production values, garish, oversized tags/badges and all, 12 and Under flew a flag on behalf of all of us. The children flew it high. I thank them. We all should.