Open letter to athletics bosses
Dear Steve Stoute or Esther Maynard or Colin Spencer or Michael Jules or Erskine King or Stephen Lashley,
Look, I don’t know who the hell to write ’bout this thing that sticking in my craw, that got me feeling like I would lick down somebody – or worse.
You may not know this, but with great frequency – more often than any civilized society should endure – athletics events are breaking out in the middle of a bram at the National Stadium.
Yes, people have the gall to run and jump and throw when it is clear that they should be pelting waist – the dominance of loud, pulsating music while they are on the track and field says so.
Anyhow, I am not in any mood to sustain that sarcasm. I vex as hell!
I talking ’bout how during athletics meets deejays constantly jerk your insides with body-pounding soca and more. Events going on – they playing music; in the small spaces between events, they playing music. Intermission time or not, they playing music. Music, music, music ruling the day.
Tell me something: is it that you think that we are now so childish, so immature, so lacking in grown-upness that we can’t enjoy a sports event as a sports event? Yuh know like how yuh does have to put in something sweet to get children to take their medicine? Is that it? So you are treating us like little children?
The last time was Saturday gone. I decided to attend the second Inter Alumni Associations Athletics Championships. Be-jinx, I might as well have entered a torture chamber.
The same rumbling for the worst that I had previously noticed at various editions of the Senior Games and the National Championships reared its rude, irresponsible head again.
In every space of time there was a boom-boom, as sonic assault after sonic assault harshly pounded your being.
I know it bruised my spirit, not to mention jangled my nerves, stole my peace, made it impossible to have any normal-volume conversation about an event or whatever, made it difficult to make or take phone calls or quietly reflect, or call out to that friend whom I had not seen in years, or even read or listen to my own music if I so desired.
I could not form that spiritual bond with competitors because of the impudent, brutish degradation of the event as loud music became the centrepiece and the athletes and athletics-interested patrons the secondary unfortunates.
You think it is right for athletes to be risking pulling muscles while a deejay muscles in on our cheers, for athletes to be on the line interminably as the starter can’t get to start a race (and he cahn run over to the deejay booth and shoot somebody with his gun neither) – because everything has been made to move to the beat of intrusive, unrelenting music.
Some say the people like the music at the events. Samson liked Delilah. Lots of Germans liked Hitler. What people like is no guide to its appropriateness.
How are the deejays and the organizers less brutish than that fellow who drove up next to my car in the car park of a beach, his music hogging the air, and when I politely told him that he was being inconsiderate, responded, “If you want f… ing quiet, go home and get in yuh bed!”?
Now, I like music. Real bad. As a performer is reported to have said, “I likes to dance; I likes to sing”. And I have spent tons of money in relation to it. So don’t get tie up: I delight in music. But in its place.
So I am not saying you can’t have music at an athletics meet. But it must be held firmly in check. Not loud. Not when events are going on. Not filling every space that becomes available, trying to be the centre of the thing. Only during carefully designated intervals, like intermission. An athletics championship must not be turned into something else.
Perhaps I should also write to the Fair Trading Commission ’cause inviting me to the Stadium for an athletics meet and then abusing my ears and my insides and my just expectation of enjoyment of a sports event is bait and switch.
I should probably think, too, of suing the National Stadium and the various organizers for physical injury, mental anguish, an adulterated product – and refunds.
Who is so reckless that they are not alert to the unfairness of it all? Who so dumb these days that they don’t know about the dangers of noise? Who so cavalier that they don’t care about its effects?
Is it a case of “O Judgement! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason”? (Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar).
Et tu . . . Stoute, Maynard, Spencer, Jules, King, Lashley?
• Sherwyn Walters is a writer who became a teacher, a song analyst, a broadcaster and an editor. Email [email protected]