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Certainly there are greater disciplines by far than just playing a game, but I would suggest that in a manís quest for self- fulfilment he must experience, and not superficially either, that excitement one gets in participating in sport. Itís in sport that we learn to lose or win graciously, to give in but not give up, to appreciate the difference between quantity and quality, to strive without easing for betterment if not for excellence. Youíre forced in sport to ask yourself a lot of questions: How far do I wish to go? How many enemies will I inevitably make? And you have to come up with the right answers. Often you find, as you grow every which way intellectually, emotionally, religiously, psychically, physically that your answers are more often wrong than right. But still you persist, and still you press on. Until, as I said, you find for yourself the greatest lesson that sport has to teach, a personalised lesson for each of us. Yes, sport really matters to us. So why is it that we unquestioningly accept what others say about us? Iíll show you what I mean. I donít have my young men around at the moment to help with research, so Iíll confine myself to Wisden (in italics) 1964 and Sportrait I, an OPM production. Here is Wisden: ďIt would be difficult to imagine a more entertaining batsman than ROHAN BABULAL KANHAI, leading scorer for either country in last seasonís England v. West Indies Test series. Quick of eye and foot, he times the ball almost perfectly when executing a wide variety of strokes, some of which border upon the audacious, and at his best he can master the most formidable of bowlers.Ē Iím certain of this one error in that paragraph: Kanhaiís middle name is Bholalall. Not Babulal. And with two lís at the end, not just one l, as I myself had wrongly assumed until a friend put me right.
Another example. Some 25 years ago, three of us published Sportrait I on Lance Gibbs. We ascertained then that Gibbsís full name is, in fact, Lancelot Richard Gibbs. Indeed, Lance was good enough to show us a copy from the Register of Births which you will find on page 13 of our publication. So with Gibbsís name thereís no problem. The problem starts when we look at his official record. In Sportrait and remember, we did our homework carefully, you will find that Gibbsís Test record reads thus:
No. of Tests 79
Total of Overs 4221.7
Total Wickets 309
Total Runs 8983
Youíll find those figures in Sportrait, but if you check any other authorities, youíll find that they follow Wisden blindly, perpetuating the inaccuracy in the Cricketersí Bible. Yet again, the 1985 edition of Wisden has this information:
Harper, R.A. (Guyana) b. Oct. 31, 1957. The following year, after we had brought the error to their attention, the entry read Harper, R.A. (Guyana and Northants) b. Mar 17, 1963 But when we wrote them about the error concerning Gibbsís record, no such correction was made. (Itís easy to double-check a date of birth, but to double-check a record means going right back until youíve traced the error.) If we want accuracy, then we must have our own statisticians, comparing notes with one another so that outsiders will have to consult us if they are at variance. And weíre not knocking Wisden, but we are encouraging our experts here in the Caribbean to do their homework. In a word, we need to put our own house in order.