A King in the making
Certainly the economy is far from the only thing in recession in these parts.
Yup, try the ever constant decline that has been local sports for almost a decade of destitution.
Substandard results that are widely being accepted with a litany of excuses. Poor fundamentals. Worse levels of commitment. Even more atrocious displays of ill-discipline.
We seem to have cut back on our superstars too, having come out of an age where it appeared like we always had at least one per any particular period.
Sir Gary. Earl Maynard. Malcolm Marshall. Suki. Leah Martindale. Oba. Now all of our hopes hinge on Ryan Brathwaite, at least internationally.
Or do they? Because like Samsung, I’m here to say the next best thing is already here.
And before we waste his prime years, it’s time Barbados show Darian King the money.
Never heard the name before? That’s okay. it’s not like local tennis has ever been a household sport past Martin Blackman. Wait, you may not know of him either.
But what I know is that this country definitely has another world-beater in a sport with more global reach than cricket can ever dream of.
Don’t just take my word for it either as Blackman said as much himself, and he should know better than anyone else, having evaluated talent for the United States Tennis Association after
reaching as high as no.150 in the world – just in case you honestly don’t know who Martin is.
Not that I needed someone of Blackman’s ilk to confirm what my eyes long perceived two years ago when the makings of a top 100 player was there for all to see in a Davis Cup tie against Paraguay.
If it sounds like I’m speaking in hyperbole that’s just the way Darian plays.
Consider that the man they call King ascended to 384 in the world within only two years of turning pro, and he would’ve been higher still had it not been for an unfortunate visa snag a couple months ago.
Can you imagine if he was a man of means from a tennis-rich country with the necessary yearly funds of US$100 000 behind him? Just ask the couple top 200 ranked players that he owns victories against what they think.
Still not convinced? Then let’s take a look at what he’s done with his local counterparts.
Matthew Hutchinson once said he believes he can beat anyone in the island, and his justification proved a single game in all of two sets.
His younger, and possibly more talented brother, Gavin, was even lucky to befall the same 6-1, 6-0 fate.
The fast-rising New Zealand-based Adam Hornby could also do no better than a mere game.
A back injury? Well, Darian beat that too, right at the same time he was busy shelling out a 6-1, 6-1 whipping to the best locally based player, Russell Moseley.
Apparently footballers aren’t safe either, not after King took his talents to the field in an MVP-winning performance that led Christ Church East Central to their first ever David Thompson Memorial Constituency Councils Football Classic.
Even the manner in which he dominates is stunning in itself.
He definitely isn’t Barbados’ biggest server, as that honour is definitely reserved for Haydn Lewis, but no one still manages to get more cheap points off their serve than King Darian.
He surely isn’t more athletic than the ever-robust Seanon Williams, yet no one covers the court as well or as nimble as Barbados’ top-ranked pro.
You’d think he’d be obnoxious too, and somehow Darian looks past all his talents and success to be the local sport’s most affable and easy-going personality – a true throwback to the gracious superstars of old.
But we don’t have to turn back the clock or even remember the days of Earl Maynard.
Not when the next best thing is already here.