Editor’s Note: Thanks to Andre Ledgister for his insight and contribution to today’s posts. LAWDAHMERCY!
For as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve only known of top athletes in football, basketball and track & field as African Americans. It was something I took pride in until someone asked me in high school if I wanted to go play basketball instead of study journalism. In that moment, I realized that the mainstream opinion of African American male prowess was limited to sports, sex and crime. That changed when I discovered that Jamaica, the country of my parents, had an Olympic Bobsled team. Through the movie “Cool Runnings,” I laughed myself into the enlightenment that African Americans can do anything and Jamaicans weren’t just limited to track & field gold medals.
When I read the recent Associated Press article on Errol Kerr, a Jamaican-American Olympic skier from Truckee, California, I forwarded the email proudly declaring that my parent’s proud little island nation had moved beyond bobsledding and into skiing. Never mind that most young Jamaicans have never seen snow, but to have a young man whose father is Jamaican and whose mother is American, wear the black, green and gold of the Jamaican flag on his uniform gave me hope that those same young Jamaicans will see new possibilities for their futures. Some call Kerr the Usain Bolt of skiing. If he breaks a world record like Bolt, I’ll wear black, green and gold for a week. But even if he doesn’t, just having him compete at an Olympic level gives me enough pride to wear black, green and gold the day after he competes in Vancouver. Best of luck, brethren!