EDITORIAL: We are big people!

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It took Team Antigua 30 days 2 hours and 12 minutes to row across the Atlantic Ocean from San Sebastián de La Gomera, Spain, to our bit of paradise, Antigua and Barbuda.  In doing so, they smashed the previous world record of 35 days, 14 hours and 8 minutes set by Latitude 35 in 2016 and became the second fastest team to row across the Atlantic in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. A race dubbed “The World’s Toughest Row.”
So, let us take a moment to acknowledge these brave and adventurous men who did this amazing feat to bring attention to marine conservation and to help establish a marine park in English Harbour. As well, a portion of the proceeds will also go towards the rebuilding efforts in Barbuda.
The team consisted of captain Eli Fuller, Scott Potter, John Watt and Nico Psihoyos. We take our hat off to these gentlemen because, like Team Wadadli did in 2015, they put Antigua and Barbuda on the global map in an extremely positive light.
It is unfortunate that they were beset by technical difficulties early in the row because had their equipment been functioning in the manner that it should have, we feel confident that they, and by “they”, we mean the national “we”, could be the holders of the world record.  
Having left La Gomera on December 14, the team held on to first place through Christmas, but were eventually overtaken in the coming days by the new world record holders, “The Four Oarsmen.”  We take the time to congratulate them on the win and the record, for they, too, help put Antigua on the map.
It is not for us to recount the story of the Team Antigua row, that privilege belongs to the men that undertook the challenge. Ours is to recognise the grit and determination of these four men who showed that “we are big people,” as captain Eli so eloquently and passionately stated while on stage at the end of the row. They overcame what was described as “incredible hardship” to achieve an incredible result.  
Forever, we have preached that Antigua and Barbuda’s greatest resources are its human resources and Team Antigua has proven that. We have repeatedly said that if we invest in our human resources, there is absolutely no reason why the next big thing could not come from a brilliant Antiguan or Barbudan. Team Antigua has proven that.
These men did not just row across the Atlantic Ocean. No! They broke the previous world record by over 5 days! It is only technical difficulties that kept them from doing what many naysayers said was impossible – coming first and beating the world record!  
We bet that had we had a poll, before the rowers embarked on this adventure, of how many people thought that Team Antigua could break the world record in the face of stiff competition, there would have been few if any that had that faith. And if we had asked how many thought that they could win, there would have been even fewer. That is one of the key things that hold us back from standing on the stage in the roles of “big people.”  We doubt ourselves, we doubt our abilities and we doubt those standing around us. The members of Team Antigua did not. They believed in their abilities and they believed in each other. And look at the results.
Captain Eli invoked the words of Nelson Mandela as he spoke to the crowd and encouraged them to stick to their goals. Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” That is a truism that we should all live by and use as inspiration as we seek to achieve our goals.
Eli also said, “If you believe that you can do it, don’t let them tell you that you can’t do it.” That is another truism that we should take to heart. We believe, and always have, that if we set our minds towards achieving greatness, we will accomplish our goals, no matter what others say. But, and there is always a but, we need to plan and we need the support to achieve greatness.
Team Antigua had a plan and they had great support to achieve this admirable result. If we just follow their lead, we can achieve great things as well. If we just believe that all things are possible through grit and determination (along with planning and support), then our nation’s size matters little because we are big people!
Thank you Eli. Thank you Scott. Thank you John.  And, thank you Nico.  You have shown us all what big people look like. And, you know what?  You look like the rest of us!
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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