We’ve been going to, or watching, Jamaica’s National Boys and Girls Championships (or Champs) for years, so I think many of us take for granted the incredible vibes of this annual event. The world has now awakened to the fantastic show Jamaica puts on every year and international journalists can often be seen trackside.
Here are four reasons Champs is so great.
- The intense competition – a Trini friend of mine once commented that she found it amazing how the entire country rallied behind high schools in the way we do here. Perhaps because we have not traditionally had that rivalry at the tertiary level, we concentrate all our energy on the high schools. Men in their fifties and sixties ride around with high school bumper stickers and wear their high school ties with pride. Um, that sounded strange. Anyway, that’s the rivalry that sets the stage for intense competition at Champs.
- The talent – Champs is not all about track and field. If it were, the Stadium would be equally packed for the Jamaica Invitational, and National Senior and Junior Trials. Having said that, you are guaranteed to see incredible displays of talent, and the next generation of international stars.
- The show – Even if you are not a track and field fan, it doesn’t matter. Champs is the place to be, and you will have a good time. The cheering, the hype, the palpable excitement in the air, the constant action, all ensure a great show.
- Big men blowing little plastic horns – these are probably the same men wearing their high school ties and going around yelling “Fortis!” and “Rat Attack!” Slightly weird on one level, but good fun all the same. Assuming, that is, that you’re not sandwiched between two of them, in which case you’re likely to go home feeling slightly deaf.
So whether you’re from Munro, or a member of the Rat Pack, from Papine High or Morant Bay High (hey, we got seven points!) let’s celebrate something we are doing not just well, but extremely well.
What’s not fun – the continuing hooliganism of those who feel that an appropriate reaction to the end of Champs is to throw bottles at people below. This happens in the bleachers. I suspect if bottles were being rained down on the dignitaries in the VIP box in the grandstand a stop would have been put to it a long time ago. Wha dem say? Donkey say de worl’ nuh level. True ting.