By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
Now that TnT’s Soca Warriors have ascended the stage of global sporting events a la 2006 FIFA World Cup, it is apropos to take a look at the glory of global sports events.
Indeed, historiography records that the world’s first Olympics was held in Olympia, Greece, in 776 B.C.; thus the derivative Olympics from Olympia. This global event was not an occasion to celebrate and reward sportsmanship, physical brawn and/or brinkmanship in the form of medals or monetary gains. Instead, it was a public, spiritual ceremonial worship in honour of the ancient Kemetic-Egyptian-Afrikan deity, Amon (“ruler of the Gods”). The Greeks (world’s first Europeans) renamed this Afrikan deity Zeus then the Romans later renamed him Jupiter.
This Olympics was held/organized by the ancient Kemites-Egyptians-Afrikans. In this B.C. era, Afrika was known as “the land of the spiritual people.”
In the A.D. era, the Berlin Olympics of 1936 was supposed to be the “crowning showcase of the National Socialist Government in Germany” in an overt and arrogant attempt to show the world that “Aryan supremacy was a living reality.”
However, there was an Afrikan-American athlete named James “Jesse” Owens who was taking part in these games while flying the American red, white and blue flag.
On the first day of competition, 2nd August, 1936, the German Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, publicly congratulated the Euro-Finnish and German athletes who had won medals.
However, when it came to the American athletes, Jesse Owens did the impossible by winning four gold medals in one day. Jesse Owens, a Black man, became an instant world superstar at this 1936 Olympics.
All eyes now focused on the Euro-German Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler. In other words, the question was: Would he likewise publicly congratulate this Afrikan-American superstar on the attainment of his medals as he did the Euro-Finnish and German athletes?
It never happened.
After Jesse Owens won the second gold medal, the totally indignant, acerbic supremacist Fuehrer summarily “stormed out of the stadium.”
Adolf Hitler apparently felt that it was going to be “too humiliating ” for him to publicly congratulate this Black man super athlete.
Such is the power of sports at the highest geopolitical level; it has the ability to transcend and muzzle ideology, racist designs and beliefs. It also has the capacity to showcase the stark biological reality that all athletes are created equal and do compete on an equal footing in global sporting events regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, etc.
At the 1936 Olympics, Jesse Owens proved that overt bigotry and racist supremacy have no place in the corridors of global competitive sporting events. Hail Jesse Owens!
Indeed, history has now repeated itself with the participation of TnT’s Soca Warriors at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany; this historic first is very ironic though accidental re the aforementioned.
In August 1936, Jesse Owens was a small Afrikan-American male athlete representing a large, powerful country. In June 2006, the TnT Soca Warriors are male athletes from a “small country (with a) big passion” and this is neither ironic nor accidental.
TnT is not a global power as Jesse Owens’ United States of America but its Soca Warriors are proud to compete on this global sports stage flying the red, white and black flag.
The Soca Warriors appearance in Germany not only brings to the fore what determination, focus and the burning will to win can achieve but most importantly, it also engenders a keen, honest and welcomed sense/spirit of unity, togetherness and patriotic Trinbagonianness. It is this latter fallout effect that has permeated all aspects of life in TnT.
The glory of the Soca Warriors at this global sports event will live on forever while their success or failure will be buried in the sand.
The fact of the matter is that TnT is the smallest country ever to compete in a World Cup and that feat in itself is a historic milestone that deserves a special gold medal reward.
The Soca Warriors may not achieve the same stunning success as Jesse Owens, however, in these two specific instances, representative country size did not matter. The salient reality is that the competing athletes all had the same heart size.
The Soca Warriors have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that as a united, committed, dedicated team of players, smallness is no substitute/excuse for failure. In fact, they used it as a readymade, potent catalyst/impetus for maximum global greatness.
The Soca Warriors have shown that win or loose, they are genuine fighters – “committed to the nation” – sweet, sweet TnT.
In the final analysis, TnT lost the football battle against Britain but in the broader, cognitive context, TnT has won the “multiplier effects” of the psychological, global exposure war.
Hail Soca Warriors!
Shem Hotep (“I go in Peace”).
Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.