National heroes, indeed

group 1 (1)
- Advertisement -

It was with great joy that we applauded the safe arrival of our Team Antigua Island Girls (TAIG). Hip, hip hooray! Of course, we were all a bit nervous, and a tad apprehensive, as we followed their progress across the mighty Pacific. After all, the Talisker Whiskey Pacific Challenge is not called “The World’s Toughest Row,” for nothing. The Pacific is the largest and the deepest of the oceans, with the Challenger Deep descending to a depth of 35,876 feet in the Mariana Trench. And there are sharks – over thirty-four different species. This is not a row for those with little belief in themselves.

 So we watched them row and sing their way across the waves with bated breath. Forty-one days, seven hours and five minutes on the edge of our seats. Mercifully, we can now exhale. Not that we had any doubt that they could make it. Au contraire, we knew that if there was a trio that could do it, it would be TAIG – Kevinia Francis, Christal Clashing and Samara Emmanuel. They are made of stern stuff. And they put in the requisite work – the grueling hours of fitness training, and so on and so forth. This was a trio that did not want to start the race, then flunk-out on account of being physically unfit, or not mentally tough enough. Remember, mental toughness is also a part of this expedition, being alone with hungry sharks and screaming seagulls in the Pacific is no joke. This is not a sail on Country Pond.

Clearly, our TAIG are possessed of a tough constitution, and great faith. When the contrary winds blew, threatening to carry them off course, they dug down to right themselves. When they broke an oar, they improvised. When Mother Nature threw rather cold winds at them, they defied nature by bundling up and staying busy. When the horse-drawn chariot of Sol Invictus aka Helios (the sun god) made its daily traverse across the sky, they put on broad, floppy hats to shield themselves.  When an angry wave nearly capsized the vessel, they kept their cool and skillfully righted it. And when Kevinia Francis became seasick, at the outset, they did what they needed to do to stay on track. Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco da Gama have nothing on these girls. They arrived safely in Kauai, Hawaii, securing second place in the ‘all female’ category, and ninth overall. Yaaaay! And to the Almighty be the glory, they were always in our thoughts and prayers.

Of course, in larger-than-life moments such as these, it is easy to wax lyrical about the wind and the waves and the mysteries of the deep. It is easy to engage in flights of fancy about fearsome creatures, as chronicled in Homer’s epic poem,THE ODYSSEY[8th Century BC]. Homer tells of the ten-year voyage of Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, engaging in existential struggles with fearsome creatures  before finally touching his homeland in triumph after the Trojan War. According to JOINEXPEDITIONS .COM, THE ODYSSEY is important today, because it is the great story of travel, and the idea of coming home after a sojourn abroad is quite deeply embedded in Western culture. That you might go out as a hero, having your adventure and returning [in triumph], that’s the structure of so many films, so many novels, so many books. They all go back to The Odyssey.” We suggest that our TAIG had their own odyssey, their own moments of concern and ultimate triumph. Books ought to be written about their odyssey. Their adventures on the Atlantic and the Pacific ought to be featured in film on the big screen. They are the stuff of legend. And we are ever so proud of them! Indeed, a sculptor should be commissioned to sculpt their likenesses for a life-sized work of art for display at the V C Bird Airport.

The TAIG undertook this voyage to raise money for a home for girls who have had conflict with the law. It is a needful thing, and we salute them for their vision in this regard. Even the uplifting story of how the money was raised for the construction of the home will be an inspiration to girls who may find themselves there. In this world, we need heroes. We need people that we can look up to. We need people who demonstrate that they care. That’s TAIG; they will forever be an inspiration.

Moreover, their can-do spirit, their indomitable will, their persistence and dedication to the call and the cause, will encourage and inspire young people, especially girls, to follow their dreams, and to work assiduously towards achieving them.

When they return to this fair land of ours, they ought to be accorded a heroes welcome at the airport. Nothing less will suffice.  There ought to be a grand parade into St Johns, with our heroes atop a float, greeting their thousands of fans and well-wishers, complete with bands and hi-fi music. They are so very deserving.

            Team Antigua, we salute thee!

      We invite you to visit and give us your feedback on our opinions.

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

18 − sixteen =