Champs Fever: Creating A Legacy

Martin Manley, Michael O'Hara, and Zharnel Hughes, compete in Boys & Girls Champs 2014

 

For so many years, people from all around the world have been drawn to the vibrant track and field culture that has formed a central part of the strength of our Jamaican culture and pride.

We marvel at the fact that at the hundredth-year installment of the Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, cameramen and journalists from the world over, came to witness the "magic" that is "Champs"!

But, should we be so amazed? We, ourselves...JAMAICANS, are just as awed each and every year by this athletic addiction. We stampede for tickets at the earliest chance, we get bex an gwaan bad when we realize we've just missed our chance at attending because tickets are sold out already, and we stay glued to our television screens, watching the every move, throw, jump and leap of our graceful, empowered athletes!

The fever dehya too! But why is this so? And what can come of it all?

 

Why wi love it suh?

 

 

We are a Competitive People!

Martin Manley and Michael O'Hara battle it out to the finish at Boys & Girls Champs, 2014

 

You can tell by our "internal motto": "WI LIKKLE BUT WI TALLAWAH", that it is innately engrained within each and every Jamaican, to want to prove that we have the strength, determination and capacity to outweigh every expectation and succeed despite several limits.

We grow up in circumstances where resources are tight from very early, and where even education, widely viewed as the "ticket to a better future" is not free and often proves too costly for some households to afford.

And yet, these very same persons, virtually devoid of all "natural resources" to succeed, manage to carve "something out of nothing", to educate themselves and to engender a "never-say-die" spirit that will lead us to strive to become the very best in each and every endeavour that we undertake or participate in.

We are leaders by nature, and engage this quality when the competition gets tough. We've been competing for basically all of our lives. Why would we stop now? Time fi go haad an done!

 

We are Patriotic

Proud young Jamaicans decked out in Jamaican colours

 

Whether it be the "latest and greatest" of our track and field athletes, or our best voices on The Voice singing competition, we are out and we are ready to represent in out COLOURS!

And you know what that means! Black, green and gold, bright and bold out in the Half-Way-Tree streets, on the track or in our very own homes, with flags, our clothing, and wid pot covah to lick!

Of course, we do no less when it comes on to celebrating our Boys and Girls Championships ("Champs"). 

Members of Jamaica College celebrate the "Champs Fever"

 

When it comes on to our Jamaican patriotism, it doesn't matter who you are, your "status" in life, or your social crowds. When it's time to celebrate our national and school pride, it's ALL IN!

We don't discriminate when it comes to our giving of support to a fellow Jamaican. Once you've earned our trust and you're doing you're utmost best to achieve your goal, then you know we're all behind you under the flag of choice!

 

We Start from Early: It's a Culture!

Young athletes celebrate victory at Junior Championships, Jamaica

 

As is often spoken as a mantra for success: the keys to success are...PREPARATION, PREPARATION and PREPARATION!

And of course, our Jamaican athletes are short of nothing when it comes on to preparation for at least a bright highschool future in track and field!

So, with a culture wherein all of us: whether having participated in Primary/Prep School Championships ourselves, been a supportive parent of a primary/prep school athlete, or a joyful spectator, there's no doubt that we're "trained" to love this annual spectacle of our students "burning up the track". 

 

So, the question then arises....

What are we being prepared for?

 

A Path to Success: On and Off the Track

Usain Bolt, multiple record-holder and gold medal winner, athletics, Jamaica

 

We, as Jamaicans, are set on a path toward achievement in any sphere. Yes, the success of our "big star athletes" that have gone as far as setting world records and maintaining their winning streaks in major international athletic competitions. 

However, the discipline that is inclucated in us is translated into each and every area that we pursue. 

Dr. Tariq Parker, 2015 Rhode Scholarship Winner, Jamaica

 

According to www.rhodes-caribbean.com, Jamaica has had a Rhodes scholar for every year since 1904. The achievement of this, a most prestigious international award, is just a reflection of the discipline and drive that has been engrained into the Jamaican pysche.

Boys and Girls Champs are an example of the "training tools" that have helped influence several of our youths, who see and exhibit the commitment to winning, the commitment to being the very best in their field, coupled with a love and passion for what they are pursuing, and a spirit of perserverance, which will allow them to see their goals through to execution.

Dr. Tariq Parker, pictured above, has stated that part of the motivation that led him to achieve his academic a greatness, was a principle from his school's motto: "Age Quod Agis", which encouraged him to do his best of his ability.

 

An Opportunity To Represent Your Nation on an International Scale

When you show outstanding prowess and promise in the field of athletics via the Boys and Girls Athletic Championships, there is no doubt that you are establishing for yourself the foundation for a bright and fruitful future in track and field.

You are also able to represent your country with true pride, on an international scale. You have now become a part of "Brand Jamaica", moving the name and reputation of your nation forward, to newer heights, and it's almost a given that the whole world loves you and admires you!

Alia Atkinson, record-breaking swimmer, Jamaica

 

It doesn't matter how long it takes for us to accomplish greatness. Once we've set our minds to it, no matter how large the setbacks: financial and otherwise, we are certainly going to find a way to accomplish world-beating feats!

 

So, what's in store for you? 

You shall "accomplish what you will" (Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaican National Hero). Therefore, with a land of living examples right here before you, it's time for you to discover your passion and pursue it with drive, focus and determination, knowing that it's already built within you to succeed. 

You have what it takes! Keep going!

Have you caught the Champs Fever?!