The way it makes them feel
SAN JUAN (William Rosario's Somewhere in the Americas) - One of the beauties of this job I do is watching not only how the game is played in different countries, but also how they embrace and enjoy it. On that front, there is not a more fun place to watch crowds at that than in the Caribbean, especially in the British Virgin Islands this week.
The Caribbean Basketball Championship is on its final day of competition today in the Multisports Complex in Tortola and it has been a riot, a real enjoyable experience.
I'm not necessarily talking about how they play the game. In that respect, they still have some catching up to do against elite teams of the continent in their offensive and defensive execution. But man, are the crowds some kind of fun.
The second game of the hosts British Virgin Island against Barbados was a beautiful example.
BVI dominated the game for two and a half quarters, when Barbados started a run that would bring them to take the lead 63-62 with just minutes left in the clock. Then, after a broken play from Barbados, Kennedy Bass and Norville Carey connected on an alley-oop that brought the house down.
I was looking at the stands when this play happened and I saw the guy in charge of mopping the court, drop his instrument and dance uncontrollably in celebration.
Another guy, in charge of corridor security, was behind a door and when Carey dunked it, he exploded from behind it and shadowboxed like Felix Trinidad.
A third one ran up and down the sidelines, at one time even picking up a baby girl and jumping up and down while screaming at the top of his lungs.
All of this happened at the same moment. It was incredible. And it made me think about the dynamics of our continent in the attention we pay to basketball in this region. It's non-existent. They are basically ignored. Why?
It is true that Islands basketball has been plagued by irresponsible management in some federations by directors that haven't been exactly true to the development credo that every FIBA affiliated entity should stand by, but that is not exclusive to the region.
I think they just have not been able to consistently win once they go to the next level and that's fair.
I'm looking forward to the future though. I'm looking forward to having these teams play at home team in 2017 and hoping the spotlight and opportunity to host important games in their country allows them to grow. If you love basketball and enjoy it so much, you deserve to see your national team in your gym or coliseum.
One more before I go. There was a game between Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines where Antigua was a huge favorite, but was upset in a close thriller of a game.
Just before the last timeout of the game, there was a basket by St. Vincent that basically sealed it for them and one guy with the country's flag ran up to where the fans of Antigua were seated and started waving and taunting them with it. You know what the Antigua fans did in response? Started dancing with the guy to the music the DJ had on during the timeout.
I couldn't hold it. I never laughed so hard in a basketball game before. These people are special. Everybody in this continent and even the world needs this kind of perspective. In an era of violence in sports, this is some wonderful picture.
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