"IF I have to leave Trinidad, I going and live in Tobago!" The talk was sweet, seven Trinis and a lone foreigner playing cards and the locals heckling one another as only they could do. And until about 20 years ago, we didn't kill one another for a simple insult.
At Thursday night's card game, every topic was discussed in this season of Carnival and cricket. And also in the brew was the Tobago House of Assembly election.
But we won't destroy the nice talk with mention of that fracas across the water, where a candidate, early into the 21st century, is still throwing the racial bogey into the public domain. Anywhere in the world—where there are still a few right-thinking people to make a difference—that PNM representative would have had to withdraw his candidacy, for being so blatantly oafish.
Instead, he may even increase his margin of victory with his bigoted comment.
We said we won't bow down to discuss the politics of the land, where anything goes—from one front-liner not declaring his assets to the Integrity Commission and another involved in a few multi-million dollar lawsuits, all at the same time. That's pressure…and Tobagonians, and a few Trinis, have to decide the outcome of the contest between these two supposedly trustworthy characters.
Right, that's enough about that in this twin-island republic where there are more murders than days in the month to date.
And enough said about that, too. So why don't we talk about cricket or Carnival?
For now we'll stick to the cricket and one fan suggested Trinidad and Tobago should only be allowed to bat 15 of the 20 overs in the current Caribbean T20 tournament, such is our overwhelming superiority against the other territories of this most plundered chain of islands—from the Spaniards, the British, etcetera to the pirates and Allen Stanford.
Talk about licks! The national team is in a class by itself with no comparison.
Of course, after I wrote all this bluster and bravado, the Red, White and Black XI will have slacked off over the last three idle days and lost their sweat. Could they be on such a high, with complacency setting in…like the West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final, where India caught the champions on a rare off day.
Nah, the T&T boys too good for that and Jamaica could bring back Chris Gayle and they should still be able to come out on top.
Denesh Ramdin and his troops are moving like a Ferrari, sweetly-tuned like Phase II for every Panorama final, and ready to take on any opponent.
The same Ramdin—the best gloveman in the region—who can't make the Windies team go to Australia next week. No, it's not only politicians who hold the franchise for dotishness, the West Indies Cricket Board selectors and most of its officials are also in contention.
So the best thing Ramdin can do is hoist that silver T20 trophy into the St Lucian sky tomorrow night and say "piss off to the selectors".
But we're getting carried away again and we will let the game be played on the field on Sunday, against an unknown adversary at the time of writing this. But I know it won't be Barbados…the land that produced Sobers, Weekes, Worrell and Walcott, far less Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, because the current Bajan batsmen couldn't make more than 66 in one match and quadrupled their defeats.
I won't rub it in on our Barbados brethren, though, despite the fact that their captain played mean and cantankerous by running out Dwayne Bravo for backing up too far last Wednesday night.
All in the rules, sure enough, but as Mervyn Dillon attested: "We don't play so," not without a warning.
So we'll leave Barbados to lick its wounds, the team that I thought early on looked like a contender, all pumped up, and Express sports editor Garth Wattley pointed out their fragile batting…and since then they couldn't post a decent score.
So much for my knowledge.
And while we have Barbados among the also-ran rivals—anytime you could wine on the Bajans, you should take advantage of it, because they certainly would, one of their own, even after living more than half his life in Trinidad, having said that Sobers should still hold the batting record instead of Lara because Sir Garfield was 365 not out!
Alright, enough about heckling the Bajans, but somebody's got to do it, especially while Trinidad and Tobago's cricketers maintain this rich vein of form, at least in the T20 format.
Unfortunately, while we can relish T&T's advantage over our territorial opponents—including tomorrow, knock wood—it doesn't augur well for the regional team, with Trinidad and Tobago running in the Derby and the rest in the Maiden Stakes. Pretty poor comparison, eh?
But you know if I write all this gun talk and we get upset tomorrow, I will have to eat these words, with slight pepper, like a friend of mine got a planass a few months ago, when an insult was not well received.
In certain enclosed areas in T&T, you can still get away with some friendly picong, though, once it's not "true, true talk", as we would say. All in good taste, of course.
Not crass like the politicians who talk about ships from a far corner of the globe.
You would think that in the year 2013, we would simply be Trinidadians and Tobagonians—one love—with no dotish talk about race.
So, while we can, let's enjoy the cricket…and right after it is Carnival and more bacchanal.