26/06/2018 – Jamaica Gleaner. / World Cup 2018 has come to mash up all dolly house. The biggest fall from grace came last Thursday when the Argentinean superstar settled the argument – Messi is no messiah.
I’ve seen Tuffy shine brighter at the Office than Messi did in Russia. He just never looked like the world’s best performer to me. None of the fabled Messi magic showed up. Not this match. And apparently not this year.
I found that match hilarious. More specifically, I found people’s reactions to that match hilarious. Most of the game found me in line at the bank and I watched people more than I did the TV screen provided.
I saw one woman nervously bite down on her bottom lip so hard she drew blood. One man turned off his cell phone mid-game with the loudest hiss teeth I have ever heard. The security guard ‘traced’ Messi dog rotten as if he were standing in earshot.
As an aside, can we have football-style celebrations for real life, please? I’d like to see corporate executives land an important contract and just create a human pile-up outside the CEO’s door. Or when a doctor cures a patient, I want to see her knees slide across the hospital lawn. Now that’s how you celebrate victory.
Distracted by everything peripheral to the game, I realised that ‘Itch‘ is the Croatian equivalent of Jamaica’s ‘Eisha’. In the same way we have Keisha and Teisha and Kemeisha and Taneisha, every single player on the Croatian side has an (ic) ‘itch’ name. I near expected to hear the announcer ring out, “And Son of an Itch with a cracking cross to Jock Itch, who passes to Scratch My Itch for the gooooaaaaaalllllllll!!!!!!!”
At final whistle when the massacre score was 3-0, I boldly declared, “And the Itches have it.” I laughed way too hard at my own joke.
My biggest takeaway from the game was that Argentinean fans, wherever they may be in the world, take losing to heart. You saw it in the dejected faces of drivers, in the half-mast-flown Argentinean flags, in the tear-stained cheeks of those in the stands. Fans took the loss personally.
One of the most useful cheers I learnt in primary school was, “We nuh feel nuh way. We nuh feel nuh way.” It was the quick retort of the defeated. And I thought it brilliant. It was the resilient soundtrack of picking yourself up and brushing yourself off. It snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat. With every “we nuh feel nuh way”, you broadened your back and broadened your shoulders. And it worked.
Even today in my adult life, failures and disappointments are no match for my mental cheerleading squad’s, “We nuh feel nuh way.” It’s a gift I want to pass on to everyone. A wonderful armour that repels negativity. At least on the surface, put on that brave face. Internally, work on winning. Assess where you went wrong, strategise how to do it better and/or smarter, and know when to quit.