Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 19th 2014 Contents A69
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Defining a Decade - Righting the Future
The University of Trinida
d and Tobago
UTT is an Agency of the
Many people go through life review-
ing decisions they believe might have
been made in error and move onto
the stage of harbouring regret. Others
sit on the sidelines wishing they could
reverse the clock with hope of cor-
recting choices made.
But former West Indies and inter-
national cricketer, Ambassador Court-
ney Walsh was consumed by no such
He made this clear during a candid
discussion with some 400 teenagers
during last week s 15th annual Sport
Desk Leadership Symposium, held at
the ballroom of the Cascadia Hotel and
Conference Centre, in St Ann s, Port-
of-Spain, at which the Ministry of Sport
and energy company Atlantic were the
Speaking at the four-day conference,
the cricket legend described his sporting
life as a dream fulfilled, as it added to
the quality of life for him off the pitch,
too. He underscored, however, that
reaching to the pinnacle of the sport
could not have been achieved without
making major, but necessary sacrifices.
"I played cricket and saw the world.
I can safely say up until my retirement
and even now, I could not have been
any happier. I have achieved every goal
I have set for myself. I would not change
my lifestyle or change what I have
achieved in Caribbean cricket or world
cricket for anything else in the world.
"Sometimes we go through phases
in our lives and say if I could...I should
of. There is no if or buts about what
I have achieved. I am happy and I m
in a comfort zone. I would not change
what I have done in any way, shape or
form," he said.
Walsh s polished sporting career,
however, could not have been realised
had he not been an obedient child.
His involvement in the sport, he said,
would not have been possible without
his mother s permission. So he had to
complete all chores in order to get the
green light to go out and play.
Walsh admitted: "I did not balance
my time (between sports and academ-
ics) that well. I left high school and
went straight into cricket. My head-
master and teacher said there s a space
for you, go on this tour and come back.
Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I
never came back to school. I went on
my first tour when I was 21 and I got
selected for every tour after until I
"So I am now getting ready to go back
to school. It just goes to show that if
you set your mind and if you set your
goals to something it can be achieved.
I was fortunate that my principal at the
time gave me the go ahead to go and
pursue my dream. I have no regrets in
what they did and they have no regrets
in helping me along those lines."
He tackled questions related to the
times he wanted to abandon his quest.
He revealed there were many during
his career but as history now showed,
he didn t.
Walsh explained that when he first
played for the West Indies, he was for-
tunate enough to be selected and play
alongside a lot of great team-mates,
but when he thought his picks were
sure, the selectors started overlooking
"I was the only person to get dropped
about 13 or 14 times. Some of those
times---not the first or second or third---
but when it started to get monotonous
I was seriously considering just stepping
back from it and start plying my trade
in England, because I used to play coun-
ty cricket (for Gloucestershire) as well.
"Even though I wanted to quit, the
inner man in me was saying you have
got to fight the adversity and prove to
these people that what they are doing
is wrong. Whenever you are dropped,
if you are not disappointed, then you
should not be there. I was happy that
I had the courage to fight on and I can
safely say that after South Africa in
1992, I was never dropped again," the
former WI skipper said.
Being captain of the WI was like
being prime minister of the Caribbean
Being psychologically and physically
equipped to take on duty as a player
was not enough to guide Walsh in his
duties as captain.
Apart from having citizens from every
territory look up to the team leader,
Walsh simultaneously found himself
having to justify his place on the region-
al team. Added to that, he had to estab-
lish stronger lines of communication
within the camp citing the obvious cul-
tural differences and eventual clashes
But most of all, he had to work over-
time in an effort to eliminate the per-
ception that cricketers from larger and
more established islands like T&T and
Jamaica had pride of place on the team
over talents from the smaller territories.
"We learnt to understand each other.
We learnt each other s strengths and
weaknesses and we tried to support
each other as best as we could. Once
the bell rang and we were going onto
the field of play, it didn t matter where
we came from. We were just West
Indies. That is what helped us quite a
lot," said Walsh.
He quickly learnt that his young
audience was very informed on almost
every aspect of his public life and had
to explain why he was christened "heart
of a lion."
"When I played cricket, I played from
the heart. For those who remember,
when I first took over as captain, our
logo was on the right hand side and I
asked the board (WICB) to switch it to
the left hand side, because once I m
involved in a game and we played as
a team, I felt that we had to play from
the heart. We were playing for the peo-
ple of the Caribbean. They used to call
me lion heart because I always give
100 per cent on the field. So I turned
the name around: Heart of a Lion,"
Outside of cricket, Muhammad Ali
(boxer), John Mc Enroe (tennis player)
and Pele (footballer) were his mentors.
In the world of cricket, however, he
was fascinated by the skills of Sir Vivian
Richards, Lawrence Rowe, Michael
Holding and Andy Roberts. He believed
his adulation for the latter two led to
him fine tuning his bowling, but Walsh
lamented that he could not simulta-
neously emulate the batting prowess
of Richards and Rowe.
Walsh: WI captain equalled being Caricom PM
Minister of Sports
Anil Roberts shares
a light moment with
former West Indies
by the Sports Desk
at the Cascadia
Conference Centre in
Cascadia, last week.
PHOTO: SEAN NERO
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