Stay humble
Orin Gordon
Orin Gordon

By Orin Gordon
THE Guyana Amazon Warriors didn’t need to win their Caribbean Premier League game against TKR last Saturday, but every green-blooded Warriors fan wanted them to send T&T home. A friend in Georgetown messaged me – eliminating TKR was more important than getting to the finals.

Much as I enjoyed us beating our fiercest rivals, I don’t agree with him. And I want to see GAW supporters being gracious in victory. Minister of Sports Charles Ramson struck the right note at the end of his pitchside interview with CPL commentator Darren Ganga… it was competition, not war, he essentially said. We’re good friends and neighbours, however hard we go at each other on the field.

Roger Federer, one of tennis’ most accomplished players ever, played his last game last week. One of his biggest rivals, Rafael Nadal, bawled his eyes out at Fed’s final appearance. We should all channel the spirit of Federer and Nadal.

My plea for grace doesn’t stand a chance of being heeded. There’s too much spice in the Guyana-Trinidad relationship. It’s been 10 years of hurt for Warriors fans. Losing in five finals. Watching TKR win the trophy four times. Watching TKR fans glory in Warriors’ defeats, even when TKR wasn’t playing.

In the 2019 final between GAW and Barbados Tridents, every Trini I know became Bajan for the day. And the dish had loud pepper. A year earlier Dwayne Bravo, TKR’s captain at the time, had tried to manufacture motivation for his troops over an incident in which two apparently drunk Guyanese women trampled on a T&T flag. It was a stretch to suggest that the Guyanese public condoned it, but Bravo ran with it.

Again, that cuts both ways. There’s a section of Shimron Hetmyer’s fanbase on Facebook that thinks the reason he isn’t West Indies captain and scoring a mountain of runs in all formats, is because he was held back by Kieron Pollard. They have an irrational dislike of Polly that is matched only by their disdain for Phil Simmons, the coach.

A Warriors fan told a momentarily shocked Naomi Cowan, one of CPL’s pitchside interviewers, that, by winning the tournament, Hetty would show the selectors that he was the Windies rightful captain, and they’d take the job away from Pooran.

Off the field, you can’t swing an arm in a Guyana hotel lobby without accidentally hitting a Trini, in town for the black goldrush. Many Guyanese express bemusement at Trinidadians flocking to Georgetown, after decades of Guyana passports becoming red flags for Piarco immigration officers. There’s an edge. Always has been.

GAW support in Guyana has been spectacular. It was a good move by the government to lock in the next three finals there. As Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond told the watching Caribbean audience during another pitchside interview, Guyana has big plans to build on the buzz and the visibility.

Most of the GAW fans are giving loud love to their team from a place of sporting passion and fervor, but others – like the man who wants Pooran replaced tomorrow – should learn to glory in their team’s successes and leave the jingoism out of it. Sport has a way of coming back to bite you in the derrière. Ask Bayern Munich fans in Barcelona in 1999. Or Milan fans in Istanbul in 2005. Or West Indies fans watching the 1983 world cup final.

This GAW fan will have a shot of El Dorado – neat – win or lose, when the whole thing’s over. Not a moment before. In some ways they’ve already won. GAW play Barbados in the first semi today. LeBron James, one of the greatest basketball players in history, was getting a mouthful from Cameron Payne of the Phoenix Suns, as the Suns were in the process of knocking James’ Lakers off their perch. “Stay humble”, James counselled him.

Phoenix would go on the fall short in their pursuit of the NBA title that year and the next, even when they had the best regular season record. Expect, anticipate, continue being the 12th man; but stay humble, Warriors fans.

Looking past this tournament, I’d like to see CPL organisers widen their commentators and reporters pool. Bring in a new Caribbean voice or two. One of the regulars – lacking insight, talkative, and lacking feel for well-timed silences that aid the pictures – is easily replaced.

There’s a tonne of broadcasting talent in other Caribbean islands besides your favoured one. Shop around. More Mali Richards, please. And you don’t need to go to India to recruit pitchside reporters. Local content should be a thing in cricket coverage. However, if you lay a finger on naturalised West Indian Danny Morrison, we’re coming after you.

On the plus side, I applaud bringing in more women commentators – although one addition exacerbated the problem of a certain geographical bias.

One immediate change I’m hoping for is that everyone ditches the chicken curry/curry chicken jokes and memes. A CPL pitchside interviewer dropped the question on Walrond, and she sweetly replied that either way, we’re eating chicken. I wish that she had simply rolled her eyes. I would have.

The jokes/memes were funny at the five-thousandth time of telling, and that was four years ago. When the little kid jokingly struck us a mildly painful blow, we laughed because it amused him. By the dozenth time he did it, we’re telling his mom to come and get him.

To misquote tennis chair umpires… new jokes, please. And personally, I’ve got indigestion from too much chicken curry.

Orin is T&T-based media consultant at


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