first_img‘Rally, rally round the West Indies now and forever.’ Those are the first words of the chorus of the official West Indies cricket anthem written and performed by Trinidadian calypso singer David Rudder. Supporting and rallying round our team seem the noble and patriotic things to do, after all it is our team, and the only international cricket team we will ever have. However, context and perspective are everything. Coming from a lofty position of marauding dominance, the regional team is now ranked 10th out of 12 in Test Cricket, ninth out of 12 in one-day internationals, and as their rankings suggest, they are the woeful, shameless, and routine “beating sticks” for almost all of the rest of the world in the traditional formats of the game. total turn-off My personal challenge is in reconciling my support of an institution I grew loving, respecting, and revering, and continuously getting nothing in return. The West Indies players of today have either lost track or are totally ignorant of the social and political responsibility attached to representing the Caribbean region and the Caribbean people on the cricket grounds of the world. Having gone the full gambit of emotions from love, reverence, respect, disappointment, anger, and now total turn-off and disdain, the current West Indies cricket team is not very ‘supporter friendly’. When the conscience and heart are gone from the players, they inevitably go from the team. I find it impossible to give unconditional support to such a team. When things get to the point where the West Indies in their lone warm-up game before the start of the first Test match on their current tour of Australia were thrashed by 10 wickets early on the fourth morning of their four-day game by an Australian board eleven made up mostly of amateur teenagers who are yet to break into first class cricket, how can I “rally round” that kind of wimpish ineptitude. I have unapologetically made the conscious decision not to subject myself anymore to the predictable trauma of investing my emotions in the fortunes of this team. Sport is supposed to be uplifting and entertaining and not a permanent agent of depression and despondency. routine battering It is not anymore even about diagnosing the myriad problems that have killed our cricket. That enquiry has been going on for two decades and nothing has changed. It is not even about pin pointing the individuals or the systems and structures that have failed our cricket. It is now for me more a resignation that as a fan of West Indies cricket, understanding that it was great while it lasted, but I have played my last innings. I wish to do this no more. Residual curiosity will no doubt see me asking the scores along the way, or even watching the odd hour or two, knowing fully well the risks involved that sooner rather than later, I will witness the now inevitable and routine battering that will ensue. The sad reality is that West Indies cricket has become a joke. But no one is laughing. I wonder if even Mr David Rudder, who wrote and sang those platitudinous words, still believes in them. Rally, rally round the West Indies now and forever more. Rally round the West Indies, never say never. I DON’T!last_img read more

first_imgA 40.8% increase in American tourists, a 95% increase in visitor nights by Germans, and continued growth in the New Zealand market saw the Sunshine Coast record a 7.1% increase in international visitor nights to 2.9 million visitor nights in the year ending March 2016.The VS) statistics from Tourism Research Australia also revealed that holiday nights spent on the Sunshine Coast were up 29% to 1.6 million, and average length of stay increased 24.2% to 7.7 nights per visit.International tourism expenditure increased 17.8% to $236 million, close to the highpoint in international expenditure reached in March 2010.A feature of the latest IVS figures was the growth in the American market. With the ‘Bindi factor’ (the success of Bindi Irwin in America’s Dancing with the Stars) reaching a crescendo in late 2015, the spotlight on the Sunshine Coast translated into a growth rate in US visitors of 40.8%, compared to the Queensland average growth rate of 19% for the same period.“The massive increase in international visitor nights and expenditure is a result of our targeted activity in the traditionally long-stay and high-yield American and European markets over the past year,” said acting CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast, Simon Latchford.“Bindi Irwin’s high profile success in Dancing with the Stars and her focus on her Sunshine Coast home and Australia Zoo have created a very positive image for the region, and our marketing campaigns in Germany have been equally effective.“By focusing on the diversity of activities available to visitors we have managed to substantially increase the length of stay and the resulting expenditure.“With the green light given for expansion of Sunshine Coast Airport and with Brisbane Airport attracting new international flights from North America and Asia, we are very optimistic about our growth prospects in both the shorter and longer terms, especially with the rapidly growing demand for nature tourism in our key source markets.” Visit Sunshine Coast Source = Visit Sunshine Coastlast_img read more