Tag Archives: sports

These Athletes Made History at the Tokyo Olympics — TIME

Delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics were unlike any other. WIth its strict protocols, it was the first modern Olympic Games to be played without spectators. But these Games will be known for many other firsts as well. In addition to the many world records that were broken so far,…

These Athletes Made History at the Tokyo Olympics — TIME

You won’t see this on the pages of Time but it was an Antigua-Barbuda first as well when Rai Benjamin, son of former Windies cricketer, Antiguan and Barbudan Winston Benjamin, and his mother also of Antigua and Barbuda Gale Mason, won silver and gold in 400 m hurdles and 400 m relay, respectively, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He was running for the United States of America so these go toward their medal count, of course, but (stand to be corrected), I do believe this is the first time someone with Antiguan-Barbudan lineage has medalled at the Games – and we are celebrating his win here at home. Benjamin has represented Antigua and Barbuda at CARIFTA and the World Championships in the past but subsequently transferred his allegiance to run for the US where he was born (his Wiki says the transfer was approved in 2018), accessing the support and resources to go the distance on the biggest stage.

We also congratulate the athletes who represented the 268; Cehjae Greene and Joella Lloyd (track), Alston Ryan (boxing), Samantha Roberts and Stefano Mitchell (swimming), Jalese Gordon (sailing). Antigua and Barbuda has had a presence in the Games officially since 1976, and it’s an uphill climb for our athletes who deserve all the praise and all the support we can muster.

Photo of our athletes in their opening parade of nations dan-dan from the official facebook page of the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee.

And this being an arts site, I want to draw attention to something said by Cehjae’s father educator Colin Greene. “One of the problems we have here is that we are looking to support athletes after they win on the big stage but after the athlete wins on the big stage then he or she doesn’t need any support, they need the support before they win.”

What he said struck me because it echoes what we’ve been saying over here re investment in youth and arts development programmes – the need for investment early and consistently. As sports, arts.

ADDENDUM:

Caribbean medal count from the Tokyo Olympics – Cuba (15), Jamaica (9) – including the 1, 2, 3 punch in the 100 m finals, Dominican Republic (5), Bahamas (2), Puerto Rico (1), Grenada (1), Bermuda (1).

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Goooaaaallll! Notes from a sports fiction writing session

Best of Books
I was asked to do a couple of hours on writing during the Best of Books summer camp. I’m late reporting on it. It was during Olympic season, so I decided to go with a sports theme to make it more interesting for them. We read sections of stories by me (mostly because it was short notice) including first glimpse of part a new work involving a sport approximating the game of football, also excerpts from Country Club Kids (tennis) – available in my book Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, and my teen/young adult novel Musical Youth (boxing); the new work seemed to be their favourite. We had some discussion questions for general group interaction, then they worked in teams to identify as many of the action words and dynamic descriptors in my story excerpts as they could find. Then they got to practice using them in their own original fiction after watching some youtubed Olympic footage for inspiration. The Olympic footage got even the non-writers in the group engaged and we got to talking about some of the great Olympic moments we witnessed – one of the participants ended up writing about those moments instead of original fiction but that’s okay; at least he was writing. In two hours, there’s only so much you can do so if I got them writing, I was happy. It took a little while to get to happy. Some required a little more coaching and one or two focused on finishing (read: rushing) the story rather than capturing a moment in as much detail and with as much action as served the moment as directed; but, in the end, everyone wrote something and received a critique. Plus I distributed flyers for the 2017 season of Wadadli Pen, so hopefully they’ll be doing even more writing. Gooooaaaallll!!!!

Post-note: the organizer of the camp/Best of Books manager informs me that one of the most silent, reluctant-seeming participants had one of the best reviews.”Kid who appeared to be asleep in your session went home and told her people it was ‘amazing’ and detailed how it will make what she writes better … she just wished it wasn’t a sports theme .. would have preferred something more general.”   Go figure.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Education News Round-up

Well, it’s Education and Sports since these disciplines are wedded under one Ministry. But, hey, writers can be sports fans too plus I thought there were some points that could be made re the literary arts and culture as a whole, so I thought there’d be much of interest worth sharing here. I found particularly interesting…

  • The info on the National Sports Award…always a pleasure to see people striving in their fields…and little as it’s known I do follow quite a few sports locally and internationally…still not big on cricket and football, though, sorry; don’t hate, to each his own.

 

  • The Minister’s visit to the Public Library and his charge to the library staff to: “maintain a high level of professionalism and view their service to the public as a very important one.” I’m hoping that they’re getting the resources and support needed to measure up to that standard but as the library remains cramped upstairs a Market Street store nearly 40 years after the original library on High Street oldlibrarybuildingwas destroyed by earthquake then demolished altogether in the 1990s, I’m not as optimistic as I perhaps should be. A bit of trivia: one of my high school summer jobs was working under Chief Librarian Phyllis Mayers in that library upstairs the Market Street store front. They do a lot, against the odds.

 

  • The article on the acting Education Minister’s discussion with the Curriculum unit on: “what it means to be an Antiguan and Barbudan and how this sense of identity can [be] further communicated to citizens through the education curriculum” in which it was said that “while the National Education Curriculum does provide for the integration of cultural heritage, customs and life styles into a student’s everyday learning experience, more must be done by not only teachers but parents to make it a way of life for children in the classroom and home environments respectively” and suggested that “the message could be amplified, including the establishment of an Education for Cultural Identity Policy, the strengthening of the visual and performing arts to include the creation of culturally based school competitions with local music and food themes, the regular staging of exhibitions of local arts, crafts and foods in easily accessible places, the reintroduction of theatre at the community level and continued education and training of key stakeholders on the importance of maintaining our national tangible and intangible cultural heritage.” That this suggestion positions the art as a priority is something I, Wadadli Pen,
    Image from our first Wadadli Pen awards ceremony in 2004 with Education Chief Jacintha Pringle and then Culture Director Heather Doram seated in the front row, alongside some of our sponsors, with the first year's winners standing.  From the get-go Wadadli Pen has been about nurturing and promoting literary expression with a decidedly Caribbean aesthetic. (Photo by Colin James)

    Image from our first Wadadli Pen awards ceremony in 2004 with Education Chief Jacintha Pringle and then Culture Director Heather Doram seated in the front row, alongside some of our sponsors, with the first year’s winners standing. From the get-go Wadadli Pen has been about nurturing and promoting literary expression with a decidedly Caribbean aesthetic. (Photo by Colin James)

    and so many of the artistes and activists have been shouting into the wilderness for a lifetime. Will we see the kind of investment in and prioritizing of the arts that will turn this talk into action? Will we see a cultural policy – not solely one that speaks to education – but every aspect of our lives? That’s something else we’ve been clamouring for for years. Ah well, we live and dream.

 

  • The article on a grant writing workshop, which mentioned: “As part of the Ministry of Sports’ 2013 Year of Sports activities, the National Institute of Sports is partnering with the Antigua Barbuda Coalition of Services Industries (ABCSI) to build capacity of its key stakeholders through training in writing proposals to seek grant funding for projects in the business of sports and recreation.” I think this is applaudable. I would like to add that creating a data base of available grants and prompting and assisting stakeholders to access them would be a natural next step. Too many opportunities are missed through lack of awareness and effort. This applies to the creative arts as well. I make a second job of trolling the internet for all kinds of opportunities in the literary arts, culture and creative arts. I go for some, I share what I can…I’ve written grant proposals with mixed results…I’m very proactive on this point…I don’t have a choice as I’m a living working hustling striving writer who also happens to run a non profit programme but admit that funding when it comes to both Wadadli Pen and my own writing life is an area I could use a lot of help in…and I’m happy to see Sports doing for athletes what Culture hasn’t yet seemed inclined to do for us (and I suppose I mean especially the literary arts here since we do see more effort in other areas), assist in accessing opportunities to help us and our art thrive and our programmes grow.    

 

  • The article attesting to the Minister’s engagement with the media: “The Senator appeared on the Good Morning Joe Joe show on Radio Observer to share on sports related issues and on the Good Morning Antigua and Barbuda and Media Round Table with host Mickel Brann to respond to questions on key areas including the Universal Secondary Education Initiative.” As a media person who knows it can be like pulling teeth to get this kind of engagement on topical issues, never mind the Freedom of Information Act, I applaud this moves as well; and hope that it will be ongoing.  

 

  • Then there was a picture of the Education Chief under a headline about the first six grade national assessment leading up to the implementation of the Universal Secondary Education. I know from my own interaction with her that the Chief is convinced that this programme, which removes barriers to secondary education based on ability as decided by a win-or-go-home Common Entrance exam, will not only proceed this September as planned but that it must. I’m for the USE but…I can’t decide though if the Chief is being naïve about the growing pains it’s going to face and the potential for failure given the existing resource challenges in the system and  public and education stakeholders who are not fully behind the initiative and with whom the Ministry has had communication breakdowns as recently as earlier this year when the teachers withheld service due to late payment, or if I’m being overly pessimistic. Time will tell.  

All in all, interesting reading and important reading if we want to stay plugged in with what’s happening in education in our country, so kudos to the publishers for that even if the issue is heavy on the Minister’s activities and short on gender and youth information though we know there’s much to report in gender and youth and the publication is the umbrella publication for the Ministry of Education, Sports, Youth and Gender Affairs; and even it is now June 18th and I’m only now getting around to reading the June 12th issue. Better late than never, right?

Read the whole issue here: Education Sports NEWS ROUND UP VOL 1 ISSUE 4

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse(author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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THE BIG EVENT BY ZURI HOLDER

It was a gloriously bright and sunny Saturday morning, when I woke up at 7:43 a.m. filled with excitement because it was the day of the big event: the football match between Antigua and Guydadli which was scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m that evening. I usually would wake up at 8:30 on Saturday mornings, however, today was special and I wanted to finish my chores as quickly as possible because my father had promised to take three of my friends and me to the game after he finished work at 1:30 p.m.

For the last 2 days, my friends and I, along with what seemed to be the entire population of Antigua and Barbuda were constantly talking about this match. What will the score be? Who would score for Antigua and Barbuda? Can Antigua win such a big and important match which would see us, for the first time ever, through to World Cup preliminary qualification? I completed my chores quickly and efficiently because my father would have made me do them over if he wasn’t satisfied, and I didn’t want to risk it because we were to pick up my friends at 3’oclock. I was ready when my dad called at 1:15 saying he now had to work until 2:00. This made me anxious because the radio was informing that the traffic to the Stadium was already moving slowly.

At last, my father arrived home at 2:13 p.m., quickly showered and dressed. We were now ready to go or so I hoped because suddenly he couldn’t remember where he had placed the car keys. The phone rang while we were desperately searching for them; it was Jordan, my friend, reminding me of the time.  I panicked and started sweating, he finally found the keys in the clothes hamper of all places. We rushed out to the car and sped off to pick up my friends at the appointed place which, fortunately, was quite close to the venue, but the traffic – cars, busses and trucks – was crawling, it seemed  as if everyone and their “grand-ma” was heading to the stadium. We finally arrived and parked. My dad met a friend who was “an official” and he got us in before people ahead of us but not without some choice words and chupses. Knowing “an official” sometimes has its privileges.

The atmosphere in the stadium was like Carnival and Christmas Eve night in St. John’s rolled into one, music was blasting, people were dancing and waving Antigua’s flag. The game kicked off and the excitement increased as both teams played brilliant football up and down the pitch. Half time arrived and the score was tied at zero. My friends and I went for snacks and juice and as soon as we returned to our seats the second half started. More exciting football but neither team managed to break the scoreless deadlock, then, with about 2 minutes left in regular time Antigua scored and the eruption was probably heard in Montserrat, the tension increased, could Antigua defend? The referee added two minutes of extra time, now most everyone was standing and urging Antigua to defend. The full time whistle finally blew setting off a massive celebration, people dancing, jumping and slapping fives, I was exhausted! That night I dreamt I was representing Antigua and it was me, with two minutes left, collecting a pass at midfield and weaving through the opposition’s defense to hit the winner in the top left hand corner of the net and the crowd started screaming my name……

Zuri-2BIO: Zuri Holder is a 12 year old form 1 student at The Antigua Grammar School. He enjoys reading, playing cricket, football and other games. He likes travelling and is also a drummer with the Antigua Dance Academy. In 2011, Zuri placed second in the 12 and younger category of the Wadadli Pen Challenge. The Big Event has earned him third placed overall in the 2013 Challenge and the win in the 12 and younger age category.

Please respect the writer’s copyright; do not use or alter without permission.

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