One of our many universal failings and common tendencies as human beings is our individual and collective dislike of criticism, no matter how well intentioned it may be. It is a repeatedly demonstrated fact however, that criticism, when made constructively and for all the right reasons, can often stimulate self examination and a subsequent rising of our behavioral standards.
That much has been made evident by the West Indies cricket team’s recent performances during its current tour of England. In the 1st Test played at Warwickshire as England’s first ever hosted Day/Night encounter, the West Indies were badly beaten, mauled would perhaps be a far more apt description, by their hosts within three days of the scheduled five. They lost nineteen wickets well within the three playing sessions of the third day, while slumping to one of the most lopsided defeats ever experienced in the almost ninety year history of England-West Indies Tests.
Their abject 1st Test performance received global cricketing condemnation, Embarrassing, pathetic, amateur and school boyish were some of the labels that freely flowed, as descriptions of the West Indies less than impressive 1st Test performance.
As harsh as they were, the criticisms were manfully received by the team. According to the Team’s Coach, Stuart Law, during the hours, days and week that immediately followed the 1st Test defeat there were very open and totally honest discussions held between the players and the team’s coaching staff. Apparently the result was that the criticisms were accepted by the individual players as having been totally justified. The request made by the coaches was simply for each player to correct the identified faults and to worker harder at producing performances that would be more accurate reflections of their individual abilities.
In what has since been described as one of the most incredibly amazing transformations in international sporting history, less than a fortnight later the almost identical, except for two team personnel changes, group of “schoolboys” fashioned and exciting victory against their English hosts. The West Indies defeat of England by five wickets in the Headingley 2nd Test was historic in many ways and again quite an astonishing turnaround.
Their transformation from vanquished to victors was undoubtedly the result of the West Indies players having taken to heart the criticisms that had been leveled against them. The raised performance standards that were displayed during the 2nd Test was further evidence of the benefits that can be derived when justified, constructive criticism is not only accepted but also then acted upon.
The relevance of this most recent West Indies cricket team example to our Caribbean Canadian community lies in the fact that we tend far too often to be accepting of behavioral and value provision standards that often border on the mediocre. As much is evident during the countless boat cruises that now punctuate our Caribbean Canadian summer.
With parking costs that start at $20 per cruise, admission tickets ranging between $40-$60 and drink prices anywhere between $5-$8 for beers or spirits, cruise attendance an often be a very expensive undertaking. The final financial outlay for two individuals to attend a single four hour cruise is often, all costs include in excess of $200!
Multiply that by four or five cruises attended during the entire summer and your total expenditure for that type of entertainment alone could be almost $1,000. Yet in an almost total lack of appreciation of that fact the value provided by most Caribbean community organized cruises very often leaves far too much to be desired. Overcrowding, inferior food, crappy music and inflated drinks prices are just some of the identifiable faults often experienced by cruise enthusiasts.
Hopefully these criticisms as well intended as they are will be noted and accepted by the respective promoters. And in a manner similar to the inspirational transformation demonstrated by the West Indies team, next year’s cruise offerings will provide much improved value for money.