I think back to last year and the humiliating loss we suffered up west. I should have known it was going to happen, the minute I saw Paula Cox and Michael Dunkley both wearing Somerset colours during the opening ceremony.

What does Cup Match mean to me? And what should it mean to you? We can see it through the vantage point of age-old old ‘us versus them’ angle. Constantly trying to outsmart each other in politics, race, class or family relations. Or we can see it strictly as east v west.

There are many ways to look at it, but let’s draw some broad parallels.

In order to play cricket, one must be able to stand out in the field in the hot sun and set the field for bowling and stopping runs. Likewise, in life we must carefully set out field. Position; ourselves, our family, company and our community to make the most of the balls we bowl and prevent opportunities from escaping us. The sun or challenges may be hot and hard but we must endure the challenges and deliver.

Likewise, when we are at the wicket, we must not just swing at every ball or snake oil pitch that comes our way. The aim of the bowler is to get you out. Likewise, the aim of those gunning for you is to take you out of the picture. Be adventurous, yes. But be selective in your strokes. Not every sales pitch for something to buy, or invest in, or person that’s says “hi friend” is worth your time or energy. 

As with every Cup Match, there will be the crowds that are either there to support you or to boo you. So too in life there will be those who will support you to the dying end, and then there will be those who will never be in your corner. Embrace your supporters and ignore the haters.

Another Cup Match lesson — evolution v complacency. For years, Somerset took licks, left right and centre. We St George’s fans got so used to beating them, Cup Match was our annual celebration of supremacy. Well, lo and behold, Somerset was evolving its youth team to become more skilled and focused. In our complacency we took them for granted and suffered the most embarrassing defeat. 

As individuals, families, communities and as a country, we must constantly evolve to make sure we do not become complacent in our job skills, our interpersonal relations, our tourism product or our willingness to do for self. The competition is there, what are we going to do about it? Evolve and adapt to a loss, learn from it and rebuild in order to compete and conquer.

The most important lesson from Cup Match, is that for two days we remember what it is to share and care. To walk around freely and embrace each other. We trade barbs about what colours we have on, we willingly share food or drink at each other’s camps. Why do we have to reserve this “spirit of oneness” for but two days per year? Team work is about unity. ‘Unity’ begins with U N I.

I am proud to be Bermudian. I know that our ancestors formulated Cup Match as a celebration of our emancipation from slavery. We cannot trade physical slavery for mental or materialistic slavery. Take the principals of cricket and Cup Match and apply them to our lives daily.

Bermuda — it is time to step up to the wicket. 

PS. See you at the victory party down east. n

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