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Tek Yo` name outta nigga mout’

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With that storm (in a teacup?) out of the way, over the use of a colloquial expression, it may be fitting for us to turn to another colloquial expression to describe a far from controversial situation. Up until last weekend, Caribbean cricket lovers and even those with only passing interest in cricket, had been agonizing over the deplorable showing of the West Indies cricket team. Just about every negative expression, Standard English and colloquial alike, had been used to describe Brian Lara’s men, as they approached the Antigua test with an English whitewash (horror of horrors!) a distinct possibility.
The West Indies team had lost the series and was in danger of even losing the support of its most fanatical supporters. Indeed, it seems as though our cricketers had lost more than that – pride and respect being among the losses. What advice could one render to such a seemingly hapless bunch? What could we say to Brian Lara himself, under fire for under-performance and lack of leadership, as he led his men out onto his hallowed Antigua recreation ground? The same `granny` of our culture would have provided those comforting words, “Bwoy, go tek yo`name outta nigga mout!’` So said, so done. And just as the late Professor lyrically related how ‘Willard` would hear granny’s voice echoing’, so did that admonishing of `granny` appear to resound in Lara’s ear.
And how he responded to the occasion! In the process, not only restoring the respect and pride of him and his team, but raising the hopes and aspirations of an entire Caribbean people. One could only imagine how, in Britain, those drooping shoulders and buried heads of Caribbean immigrants suddenly became erect and held high once more. The much maligned Lara, in the process of becoming the only man to reach the monumental target of 400 in a test match, made irrelevant the chant of Antiguan spectators about ‘no whitewash’, at least temporarily. He banished the shame of the 3 – 0 drubbing, and gave his adoring fans yet another reason to believe ‘he gave us back `our record,’ that sacred pinnacle we had claimed for ours, since Gary Sobers in 1958, and fleetingly usurped by the prolific Australian, Matt Hayed.
While there is still sadness at the series lost, and still doubt over the future, nothing can take away from the extraordinary feat of the batting genius. Just as we flayed his failing, so too now must we `HAIL THE KING`!

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