So if you're thinkin 'bout dissin me, better think twice
Cause next time, brother, I won't be so nice
You can come all alone or bring all your boys
But if you knew what I knew, then you'd kill that noise
MC Shan - Kill that Noise
While most people know Shan as the dude that discovered Canadian dancehall artist Snow of 'Informer' and 'Anything for you' fame, Shan was one of the big dudes back in the day down with the Juice crew and had a classic beef with my man KRS-one and BDP. I was digging in the crates and came up with this gem yesterday.
Been feeling to write a bit about sports lately and no not cricket this time, just my time playing sports as a youngster. I think the motivation came from Starfoxx's post last week and also the fact that its inter-school sports time in Barbados so that brings back memories. Plus I just watched one of the most amazing shooting performances in Raptors history with Donyell Marshall scoring 38 points including 12 three-pointers as the Raps beat the 76ers. Yeah baby!
In case you haven't figured it out yet I'm a sporting fanatic. Baseball, Cricket, Basketball, Football, NFL, pretty much the only sport I haven't really gotten into is hockey and probably because I didn't grow up in this here Canada area. I come from a family where my dad played cricket when I was growing up and my brother football and I was always surrounded by sports conversations from the time I was a child. In fact some of my fondest memories of hanging with my dad are going to Shell Shield cricket matches back in the day.
I also loved and still do, although I'm limiting myself to squash these days, to play sports. Yea I've got mad competitive spirit although I've tried to keep it under wraps for a while now because it doesn't really fit into my laid back, ho-hum whatever man type disposition these days. Still, I've always been energetic and as a kid I absolutely went crazy with sports.
Cricket, basketball, Tennis, table-tennis, football, track, volleyball you name it, at one time I've probably played it for a few months at least. The thing was although my dad loved sports I found that him and the rest of my family was never very supportive of me in the sporting arena. It hurt a lot as a kid to not have that push but for them it was all about the importance of education so sports was secondary. Left to my own devices I'd a probably switched that around. Clearly they never realized what big money sports could be lol.
In my mind aside from football, I probably had some potential in all the sports I played and could have maybe gone further with sports than I did. Maybe all like now I coulda been a West Indies cricketer getting big money from Digicel and C&W, driving big expensive car wid ten cellphone and nuff gal on me arm. :) Oh well, was not to be. sigh!
In hindsight though I cant say I blame my parents for not supporting the sports thing as they had my best interest at heart but as a teenager lets just say I was less than thrilled at the support I got in the area of sports. Anyway I got some painful memories about that so lets not go there.
Anyway the one sport I did represent my school in was track. Ok well I did play one under-15 basketball game for my high school too but that didn't work out as well as planned. Coach didn't particularly like me, I didn't particularly like him, I played very little, I wasn't being supported by family to continue so after that one game I said this is a waste of my time so I quit. It wasn't a difficult decision seeing that as much as I liked to play I probably disliked organized practice sessions with as much if not more intensely. Cant say I have any regrets about quitting. Well maybe a few but still. Hmm maybe I shouldn't be writing this post I'm discovering unresolved issues here.
So where was I? Oh yes I ran track for my high school in my last two years there. I was a sprinter, mainly a 100m runner. Now high school for us in the Caribbean is about 5-7 years. We don't have any Junior high so its Primary school onto high school at 11 and you stay there until you're 16 or 18. That's just some info in case you don't know.
Track season for us always started around mid to late January with heats for our own school sports where the different houses competed against each other. The finals for that was held sometime in February and then in March we had the inter-school event where all the schools in the island came together for about 4 days of competition.
In my first two years of high school I would go to the heats for all the running events and do pretty poorly in all except the longer distances. By years 3 and 4, as I grew, I was skipping the 100 and 200m heats since those were usually held first and I had not built up the courage to compete in them by the time they started. So I was basically running the quarter mile and up and I actually made a few semis and finals at our school sports day but never won anything.
Year 5, I finally decided to try the 100 and 200 again and what do you know I was pretty good at it so our track coach would drag me up to the National Stadium on Saturday to have a run with the big boys. I never did that well but it was fun again except for the organized practice thing. I had no discipline for that but I've got to say that nothing really compares to the adrenalin of competitive sports. Oh and school sports meets were cool because you got to meet kids, read girls, from other schools. Of course I would have been able to impress more of these girls if I was actually placing in events or if I wasn't such a 90lb sand being kicked in the face type geek lol.
Anyway this story which I realize I'm telling very badly at the moment is not about interschool sports its about running track at my own high school.
It was my final year of high school and I was a decent if largely underrated runner. I had long legs and long arms and I wasn't the most coordinated dude out there but I got by. I loved to run on the beach so I didn't even consider it practice when I was jogging in the surf on mornings with my dad but I think it helped my speed a bit. So this year track time came around and I went out to do the 100m and I won my first heat rather easily even though there were some good athletes in the field. Now because of this I started getting a bit of a ribbing from some of my boys. Mainly they were just kidding around about the race and how I was coming out to beat everyone this year and stuff like that. All good natured fun but it caught the attention of this one athlete who I would have to compete against. Lets call him Tony.
Tony was one of those alpha male types and in fact he represented the island for a few years at Carifta games ,which was the inter-island youth track & field meet that were held every year. He was a very impressive. An all round track and field athlete actually and would win or place in quite a few events at our schools sports every year. Thing was he really wasn't a 100m runner. I mean he was ok in the 100m but that wasn't really his forte. Of course seeing that he was this alpha male he clearly felt I was no competition for him.
Anyway Tony started to big up his chest and diss me when the second round matchups were drawn and he realized that both of us were in the race. I guess you can call it psychological warface. It did work up quite a bit of hype almost like it was me vs him mano a mano and no one else in the race though. I had very little to say but this guy just had a comment to say for everything about this race. He ran off at the lip about how I wasn't a treat and he was going to win easily.
To make matters worse we ended up running in the same first round heat for the 200m and although I gave a good fight he beat me by a few meters. So this made him think he was unstoppable. He was the winner of the second round 100m matchup before we had even run the race. He just kept on yapping and yapping and yapping. Why some Bajan people love chat so much? Highly annoying! (yea like I should talk I've got the longest post in the world gong here lol)
But I kept cool, wasn't drawn into the war of words and just decided I'd have to try to kill that noise (worked in the title ref) when the time came.
Big day arrives! The heats are run after school lets out at 3pm so all day in class I'm trying to stay cool while I hear the yapping and I hear all the predictions about who will win going on. Let me tell you I'm not so cool, I'm sweating, my hands are cold and I'm a bit worried about this race but the time comes and although I'm still a bit anxious I put on my game face. Tony and some other guys who are not bad runners as well as my 'brother from another mother' are also in this race and we've got quite the crowd watching because well its a 100m race and its got a bit of hype to it.
We get at the start line, my adrenalin flowing like crazy. My extremities are freezing, a trait I had throughout high school and university whenever I had to do anything competitive or any sort of big exam or test. Man, I'm getting cold sweats writing about this! Anyway we step to the line I say good luck to my brother and we all take our mark. I'm trying to focus and not to false start, fall at the line or basically walk instead of run out of the blocks as I sometimes do because any of these things could happen.
The starter gives us the signal. On your marks! Set! POW! The gun goes off. Tony is up and out of the blocks like Ben Johnson while just what I didn't want to happen has happened and I'm out of the blocks a good meter behind everyone. I'm starting from the back. Looks like Tony was right and I was no match for him. Damn, I fell victim to the psychological warfare and wasn't putting up a fight. By the 20m mark he had already opened up a 5m lead on the main pack. By the 30m mark he had a 10m lead on me.
suddenly I kicked it in gear and made my move. I just wanted to get to that zone where you're gliding. I don't think I really hit that point as I had in other races but at the 40m mark I still thought I had a chance. Lets see if I can overtake Tony. By 50m I was only 8 m behind Tony. I'm catching up! 55m I've passed everyone else and I'm 5m behind Tony. I couldn't hear the crowd, I couldn't see anyone but Tony and the finish line. I was focused man! I had clawed my way back into the race.
At 70m, I finally pulled even. We're neck and neck for about 5 meters which to me seems like an eternity when in probably one of my most strangely outer worldly uncharacteristic moves ever, I raised my hand in victory. Just in mid stride, out of the blue, quickly threw my left hand up into the air with my fist pumped. Yea its only the 70m mark and I haven't even passed the guy yet but I raise my hand in victory. Damn what a cocky move! I'm not even sure what made me do it up to now or how I managed to do it and still maintain my stride but from that move I just couldn't afford to lose so I found an extra gear I didn't even know I had and I flew past Tony like the road runner runnin things (big up to Chi Ali!). I blew past the finish line and didn't decelerate for a good 20m after that. I think I won the race by a good 8 or 10m its wasn't even close. No more chat from Tony! The crowd went wild! I was getting high 5s and hugs like I was Joe Carter hitting the World Series winning homerun back in '93. I felt like Whitney was singing her 'One moment in Time' song just for me, I was the greatest lol.
The story doesn't really end there. I had quite the Cinderella year. I went on to win my semi-final heat and I placed second in the finals because my lane was wet and I slowed over the last 10m. I went on to inter-school sports where I got to run against two guys who ended up going to the Olympics (they went, they got knocked out first round but they went). As an unknown at inter-school sports who no-one thought had a chance to even get past the first round I won my first two rounds and placed second in my semi-final. Unfortunately, I was dumb enough to try to change my start for the final and I ended up stumbling badly out of the blocks and not doing so well there. Still I have very fond memories of that year especially since I did most of it with a niggling hip injury from a prior incident with a hurdle (it hurt to walk but not to run go figure) and yea I'm bigging up myself in my blog for once cause my wife tells me that I seem to forget about my good accomplishments.