One of the main idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican psyche is a pathological faith in corporatist structures. By corporatist structures, I do not mean just business corporations, but interest groups, like our political parties, financial schemes like Cash Plus and OLINT, and our System of Athletic Development. This faith may not seem like such as a bad thing, except that the belief in corporate structures always occurs at the expense of the Individual. The individual is subsumed, his ego assimilated, and then destroyed by the corporate structure – one need only look at the crowds at a Nazi rally to see an example of the end result. Or better yet, how broken the people are when the corporate structure is (inevitably) crushed.
So Veronica Campbell-Brown failed her drug test. And got a suspension. The nation is now hoping that she will be exonerated by the B sample, praying that Campbell-Brown will overcome this trial, leaving those envious Europeans and Americans looking like the jealous, red-face fools that they are. We should see the hypocrisy of all this, especially when one considers that, prior to 2003, Track and Field in Jamaica was considered over and done with, especially with Merlene Ottey’s positive drug test, and subsequent emigration. At this point, athletics was so underfunded that many of or athletes had to train over in the University of Technology gym, with barbells that couldn’t hold the weights properly because the barbells themselves were bent from age and overuse.
Fast forward to 2004, and everyone is a Track and Field expert. Not fan. Expert. Then, it was not Bolt vs. Nobody-because-he’s-just-that-fast but Powell vs. Gatlin. Bolt was just a flash in the pan. Oh, remember what people were saying about Bolt when he came 4th in the first heat and failed to qualify for the 200m? “Him nah nuh subject!” “Him daddy a tek di money!” “Him nah nuh sense.”
By 2008 Bolt was the greatest of all time. I have refrained from saying anything about Campbell-Brown up to now because no one really gives a shit about women’s athletics, as the Independent headline implies,
All Campbell-Brown, Bolt and company did was figure out that that Jamaicans don’t care that you are running for Jamaica, but that you are running against America (the world is incidental ). The National Self-Image is based on looking good in the eyes of America, having left England in the 1950s and picking up the U.S.A. instead. Our athletes are simply doing what it takes to be treated as if they are somebody in their own country:
Since 2008 several of Jamaica’s star athletes have run afoul of the World Anti-Doping Agencies (WADA) Code. Yohan Blake, the defending 100m world champion missed the 2009 World Championships in Berlin because of a doping violation and served a three-month ban. So did Sherri Ann Brooks, the 2006 Commonwealth Games 100m champion, Marvin Anderson and Allodin Fothergill were also banned in that incident. Then Steve Mullings, who failed a drug test in 2004 and returned from that ban to win a medal in 2009 as a member of the relay team in Berlin. He has now been banned for life following a doping violation in 2012. Our two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce was banned for six months for taking Oxycodone. Just this week Dominique Blake was banned for six years and now VCB has been accused of cheating. That’s eight violations in the last five years and more than 20 if you go back further. (my emphasis)
Our Randian friends over at Right from Yaad have it right on the money:
If we revel in the fact that when athletes’ drug tests from our arch rivals – the United States – come back positive and they are labelled cheaters (a la Gatlin), then we must be open to the reality that our guys who are beating them, must be on stuff too!
But what Kavon hints at in his article, I will state out right. Our nation’s self-esteem is based on the athletic accomplishments of less than 50 people. We are not a nation of individuals, but a nationalist collective that only unites behind fads that lack any moral, ethical, or social value. Whether it be Dancehall music or Cash Plus, we worship these Golden Calves because we have no national symbol or cohesive philosophical system to guide us. And why not? Everything else has failed us. Michael Manley failed us. Vybz Kartel failed us. Our black middle class bankers in the 90s failed us. Our pastors have failed us. We are now left with no elites to give us a philosophy that will explain the past, guide us through the present, and give us a dream for the future. So instead of striving towards a dream, we wallow in illusions.
The illusion that a deportee could give us 120 percent in interest
The illusion that our politicians and managers can guide us
The illusion that any modern, top-level sprinter isn’t doped from his head to his Pumas.
One can only imagine the blow to our nation’s self-esteem if ever they should get Bolt. We would be destroyed, but to me that is good. For then, we can finally rebuild, not as a corporatist hive-mind, but a nation of of men and women that can actually strive towards the dream that we have built for ourselves, whether we have the world’s fastest man, or not.