The Rel­e­ga­tion Zone

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Just be­cause they, per­haps by their own reckoning, are very bright chaps, well qual­i­fied, and stunning iconic char­ac­ters in the elite in­tel­li­gentsia des­tined to lead the lo­cal masses, doesn't nec­es­sar­ily mean they are des­tined to be par­tic­u­larly good foot­ball play­ers. 'Chaps', by the way, in­cludes all 'gen­ders' male, fe­male or oth­er­wise. I am re­minded of the foot­ball team from a par­tic­u­lar re­gion of the world that was not renowned for its or­ga­ni­za­tional skills – hav­ing said that, the re­gion was not known for its for­ti­tude or abil­ity to ac­tu­ally carry things through ei­ther – that was hav­ing an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult time keep­ing up with the rest of the league and was con­stantly slip­ping down the ta­ble to­wards the rel­e­ga­tion zone from which there was never any eas­ily fore­see­able es­cape.

Well any­way, one day, some of the guys in the team – and by 'guys' I mean ev­ery gen­der imag­in­able – got to­gether over a dozen or two glasses of rum for a se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion of what could be done about their lack of suc­cess and in­di­vid­ual sat­is­fac­tion in or­der to make their team the vi­brant, well­re­spected, world-class, in­flu­en­tial, gen­derneu­tral, so­cially-con­scious, en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly, trans­par­ent, high-pro­file, eco­log­i­cal, non-global-warm­ing, driv­ing force and global leader in their cho­sen sport.

(Each team mem­ber was al­lowed to sub­mit at least one ad­jec­tive to de­scribe the team they wanted to build. A cou­ple of play­ers did not quite un­der­stand what an ad­jec­tive was and opted to let their per­sonal su­per­vi­sor (P.S.) choose a word, which would ex­plain a cou­ple of the more es­o­teric spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Es­o­teric, by the way, refers to ideas of rare or un­usual in­ter­est pre­served or un­der­stood by a small group of spe­cially ini­ti­ated per­sons, like sup­port­ers and party mem­bers.)

They hid them­selves away in an ob­scure, world-renowned re­sort (I know that sounds a bit weird, an odd oxy­moron, but they wanted some­thing ex­clu­sive but well­known, fa­mous, but with limited pa­tron­age for per­sonal rea­sons of pri­vacy) where they could in­dulge their pec­ca­dil­loes to the full ex­tent of their hearts, per diems and ex­pense ac­counts.

First on the agenda was the ques­tion of brand­ing; they needed a world-class pro­file. Sec­ond was a fi­nal com­mu­niqué that could be signed at the closing cer­e­mony. Third was a strate­gic plan for fu­ture meet­ings and the choice of venues, prefer­ably as far away and as com­fort-con­ducive as pos­si­ble. Fourth was the choice of donor agency to pay for it all, which was no prob­lem be­cause their Per­sonal Su­per­vi­sors (PSs) had a whole pile of ‘Donors De­sirous of Do­nat­ing Dol­lars' (4Ds) who were rapidly run­ning out of De­serv­ing De­vel­op­ments De­signed to De­lay Global Warm­ing, Cli­mate Change, Ju­ve­nile Delin­quency and World­wide Park­ing Prob­lems (DDDDGWCCJDWWPP), though it had to be ad­mit­ted that the vast funds for re­liev­ing park­ing prob­lems rapidly dis­ap­peared as African Desert Na­tions ac­cessed them as soon as they were made avail­able. And fifth was an agree­ment on an agenda that would al­low del­e­gates enough time to gather their thoughts be­tween ses­sions, an item that proved so oner­ous that del­e­gates de­cided to shelve it and con­cen­trate on the fi­nal com­mu­niqué in­stead.

Thus was born the Off­side Treaty of NAWIFOROS (Name With­held For Rea­sons Of Se­cu­rity), which hap­pened to be the name of the first lib­er­ated in­tern to be awarded his free­dom be­fore he stepped on to the boat to found his own dic­ta­tor­ship in West Africa. When asked by the Lord of the Ad­mi­ralty at the Lib­er­a­tion Cer­e­mony if he was ‘for us or against us', mean­ing of course the colo­nial pow­ers, the demo­crat­i­cally nom­i­nated, shortly-to-beap­pointed Pres­i­dent-for-Life of the Na­tion-ofhis-Choice re­sponded, “Nah, we for us”. His­tory re­lates that Pres­i­dent Nawiforos led a healthy, in­dul­gent, sex­u­ally sated ex­is­tence for 189 days be­fore his lov­ing sub­jects butchered him at a sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony for his fif­teenth Harem for Re­gional Di­ver­sity (HRD).

The foot­ball team that emerged from the Off­side Treaty of Nawiforos had only six of the orig­i­nal play­ers, in­clud­ing a 6-fig­ure­salaried manager. This leaner, meaner, more mo­ti­vated team would, de­spite what many saw as its dec­i­mated num­bers, be a fear­some ad­ver­sary to the tra­di­tional 11-mem­ber, or even larger, squads. Small was big­ger; fewer was bet­ter; six meant more of the ball for each player. Of course, they lost ev­ery match af­ter that but they con­tin­ued to gob­ble up money from donors at a very sat­is­fac­tory rate that en­sured a steady flow of funds for decades to come.

Now what made me think of the OECS and CARICOM? Funny how th­ese as­so­ci­a­tions pop up in one's mind, isn't it?

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