The Real Caribbean Olympics

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Flag of Saint Martin  ,
Sunday, March 3, 2013



It's always good to look in the papers to see what’s going on. And last week was no exception. On the nearest beach to us which is Kim Sha newspaper the banner headlines shrieked out TURN UP FOR THE MINI OLYMPICS. And we know what that can mean. If it’s anything to go by it’ll either be a total fiasco, or the most brilliant thing you’ve ever seen and a really good laugh. So at the allotted start time of 2:30 we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the contestants.

Now, in ancient times the contestants or protagonists used to be gladiators with such illustrious sports to compete in. They had names like Javelin throwing; discus hurling; of course not forgetting Roman Greco wrestling, a full body contact sport. The competitors used to train morning noon and night for years just to win the coveted Laurel Leaf wreath of the victor loudorum, (latin). And now in modern times, the diet is completely worked out as well. Take for example the lithe gymnasts. They probably have to survive on not much more than a single
lettuce leaf a day to keep their bodies in shape to accomplish the magnificent turns and twirls in the air. In fact, gravity seems to have very little effect on them when I see them doing their amazing flips. Now compare that to the heavy weight weight lifters. To them, a lettuce leaf would be an anathema. No, for them at least a dozen eggs along with plenty of big juicy steaks and lots and lots of bread and all sorts of stuff like that. So having set the scene, we now we couldn’t wait to see our, (and I use the word quite loosely you understand), athletes.

At 2:30 we strolled on to the beach to find hardly anyone there at all. Of course.... silly me.... I’d forgotten that this is the Caribbean and literally nothing starts on time. The contestants (if that’s what I can call them were all having a big lunch. Burgers and chips, with the obligatory compliment of beers for everyone. Oh yes! I’ve forgotten to tell you. The main sponsor was none other than a local brewery. And they made sure everyone of the contestants was going to be, how should I put it, inebriated; well oiled, or just plain drunk. Yes, out here, it’s always good to start a competition on a full stomach. There were four teams. Some dressed in costume
for the occasion. And none better than nuns and devils.

The compare arrived. A jolly rotund chap whose sole job was to egg them on to greater feats; keep order; explain the games and award points. Seems simple enough don’t you think? So grabbing the microphone called for order from the four teams which he finally got. And then ordered a round of beers to be drunk before the games were to start. Naturally the volume was turned up so everyone could hear him speak, and the first round was a relay race .His assistants put out a bar stool on the sand which they had to go around. So the scene was all set for the first off. And the race had to go like this. First contestants had both their inner legs tied together for the three legged race; and when they had completed the course the next pair in their team had to do the sack race. Now when I did the sack race in my primary school, there was only one person in a sack at a time. Not so with this one. There were going to be two; and the sack was in fact a large plastic bag. Once they completed the course, the last pair had to do the wheelbarrow race. This is where the first person holds the ankles of the second and he, or she has to walk on their hands. Seems simple enough? It was at this stage that the MC threw in the curved ball. While the contestants were racing, they had to finish a can of beer before the finish line. By now, the contestants were beginning to feel a little worse because of all the alcohol. But did it stop... No.

Event two.  The inevitable tug of war. So calling for the first teams, ordered another round of beers for everyone which they had to be finished before the event could begin. It all helps to assist them in the event you know. Numbers seem to be irrelevant. Eight on one side, six on the other. More men on one side, more women on the other. It just made no difference. And they were off and pulling like mad. Hope you like the videos.

Event three. A
dancing competition. Each team had five minutes to work out some sort of routine. It was going to be judges on its merit; how together they all were, and anything else the judges could think of.  The only problem was that the teams would not know what the music was going to be until they were 'on stage’. And then have to adapt their version of the dance to the music. If you could find a costume to wear, you’d receive more points. And that was all one man had to hear. Like a little Jack Russell terrier after a rabbit, he tore round the back of the organiser’s tent emerging all flustered a short while later in a reasonable short woman’s dress and floppy hat. His outfit looked okay until you suddenly realised in his semi drunken state he’d forgotten to put on any pants! Too late! He was on stage. So as desperately as he could tried to hide his modesty. Occasionally without much success. Hope you like the video! And then, as with all drunken revelry, it had to happen. One of the male dancers had an accident. Now let me take you back to the opening ceremony of the Australian Olympics. Can you remember that that
they had a female gymnast who was to run down the runway, bounce lightly on the springboard launching herself genteelly onto the vault? Delicately touching the centre of the vault and then doing a double flip with a triple rotation. And landing in a perfect position with feet close together, and a smile on her face. (She’d practised this a thousand times no doubt.) Well, everything went well with her till the point that she launched herself of the vault and for some quite inexplicable reason, somehow over rotated and instead of landing on her feet managed to invent a quite new type of landing. On her face. In fact, the phrase was coined at that very second for this type of landing.... and it’s called a face plant.  You may also recall that she picked herself up totally embarrassed about what had happened; strode purposefully to the end of the runway and started again. Now there is an expression in English that says and I quote, ‘when you’re in a hole, stop digging.’ Very unfortunately, and I mean it most sincerely, (with a smile on my face recalling the incident) she executed the entire manoeuvre again perfectly to the point of her delicately touching the vault....... and then exactly the same thing happened. Yet another face plant. By this time, she was completely humiliated and in front of the entire world. So this time she strode purposefully to the exit. A very good choice don’t you think. So now back to the beach Olympics. One particular chap must have been taking special lessons
from this Aussie gymnast because, in his semi inebriated state, climbed on top of a small prop, stretched his arms out sideways and launched into a somersault without the run. And yes, another face plant. Please click on the video to watch him doing it.

So much for this frivolity. Now the real stuff starts, The Heineken Regatta. One of the world’s major regatta’s, and this year there are over two hundred yachts entered. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the obligatory massive parties. And the good news is that they’re on our local beach within a five minute walk. Will blog this really soon.

 

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