Stand in our Olympians' shoes
I HAVE read and heard myriad negative comments about our athletes who have not secured Olympic medals, including a letter by someone calling on George Bovell to retire because he only managed seventh place in the 50 metres freestyle final and has failed to secure a gold medal after three Olympic Games.
Let me ask these criers in the most polite way possible. Can you do what Bovell or any of these other athletes do on a daily basis? Would you make the life sacrifices that they do just to achieve their dreams? What competitions have you competed in and won? What have you done for Trinidad and Tobago that gives you the right to criticise?
I can continue to ask more questions but that would not stop the negative idiots who love to kick a person when they are down. Typical Trinis. Just like a shadow, around during your brightest moments but disappearing during your darkest hours. Our athletes deserve our support and commendation just for the very fact that they made it to the Olympics. That is an achievement in itself. Who are we to criticise our Olympians when some of us cannot even swim to save our lives in a drain or run from our bedroom to our gate? No athlete goes to any competition to lose or with the intention of losing. We are not in their shoes at the moment they are competing nor are we in their psyche or part of all that is going on with them during their events. We are watching from the sidelines, hoping they make us proud. And they have. They tried their best with all strength, power and will.
For those of you making snide remarks, I urge you to take up the regime of an Olympic athlete. Assume the dedication and hard work that comes with the territory. Battle with the ups and downs of seeking financial and other types of support. Many of you would not make it past a month. I am sure some of you who are making comments do not even have the stamina to walk to the neighbourhood parlour much less swim, run or cycle in any of the heats.
Let me address the "bandwagonist patriots", to use my neighbour's term. This refers to those who jump on the bandwagon of supporters who only talk patriotic at certain times of the year or a specified period or event such as the Olympics.
Some of you are suddenly Trinidadian when a national is competing and are very active vocally when nationals hit the world stage. When all has died down these bandwagonists cease to identify with their countrymen outside of anything that does not put us in the limelight.
People do not pelt trees with no fruit. Perhaps our critics are pelting trees laden with fruit they can never have. While this is so, unless you can do better or are willing to be part of improving the situation, keep your mouth shut.
Good luck to all our athletes who are continuing to compete in the Olympics and those who have already, you did your best and we are still proud of you.
Camille T Cummings