Community dominoes (SLICE OF BAJAN LIFE)Dominoes session at Size Bar in its final stages with players in deep concentration. (Nigel Browne)
By Wendell Callender | Tue, May 29, 2012 - 12:02 AM
The game of dominoes is a pastime that engages many people, mostly men, in communities around Barbados. For hours they would be lost in the intrigue of the game.
We observed some men battling silently at the Size Bar, No. 3 Whitehall, St Michael. One of the teams was named Spencer’s Unbeatables after nationally recognized calypsonian Colin Spencer. His team was competing against Size’s team, which was managed by proprietors Sylvian and Elvis Lashley.
When we arrived at the Size Bar on that Wednesday, we found that the spacious bar had been converted into a parlour full of focused men and one lady keeping their eyes on the domino tables, all six of them. It appeared as if quiet combat was in progress.
Sylvian soon told us that this was one of the fun domino competitions they held at the bar usually on Wednesdays. Teams from other bars which compete there include those from Judy’s Bar in Eden Lodge and Wendy’s Bar in Husbands.
Sylvian noted that there was a reciprocal arrangement, which saw the bars hosting competing teams.
“When they come, we prepare something for them to eat and they do likewise for us,” she said.
Colin Spencer, leader of the team competing with Size’s, indicated that he was a keen domino player and had been an active participant for most of his adult life.
For the past four years he has been taking his team to Wednesday competitions at various bars.
“This is friendly dominoes and we try not to play teams that sign,” Colin quipped.
Colin’s team is based at Lower Estate on the border of St George and St Michael at the north-eastern end. Colin, who is perhaps better known for his performances in calypso tents and as a finalist in the Pic-O-De-Crop Competition, is pleased to have two perennial finalists in his domino team, namely his calypso tent mate Black Pawn, and Gabby.
Unfortunately, neither was available that Wednesday at the Size Bar. They both had other engagements.
As the game unfolded the teams were locked with equal scores with three more tables to report results of their last game. The end result was that Colin Spencer’s Unbeatable had to concede defeat.
Perhaps Colin may have blamed it on the absence of Black Pawn and Gabby – two fierce competitors in the calypso arena and, according to Colin, on the domino tables as well.
At the end of the game the teams spent time in pleasant conversation while having drinks and a Bajan meal, rice mixed with salt fish as a kind of pelau. They all seemed to relish their meal.
Elvis claimed the culinary expertise and served the guests with the utmost hospitality.
Goodwill and camaraderie were clearly afoot, with the losers gracious in defeat and the victors not seeking to humiliate their victims.
For the folks at the Size Bar that Wednesday, the domino game represented an opportunity to display true community spirit.
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