Viet Nam News
By Paul Kennedy
Jamaicans really are too cool for school.
I honestly believe those who come from this West Indian island are probably the coolest people on earth. So laid back they are lying down, super friendly and just, well, really cool.
A Jamaican friend of mine, Nikki, gave me a scarf in the yellow, green and black colours of her home country and it’s hanging proudly on my wall at home here in Việt Nam.
You can tell which apartment is mine when you get out the elevator as chances are you’ll hear Bob Marley wailing from behind my front door.
They even had a bobsleigh team for Pete’s sake in a country where it has never snowed and as the title of the movie made about them says, it was a cool team.
The coolest person I’ve ever met in my life is Jamaican. You may have heard of him, he’s called Usain Bolt.
I was lucky enough to interview Mr Bolt in a previous job when I worked in the Caribbean. He just oozed cool.
Considering he’s the fastest man ever and has more gold medals than an East Coast rapper, Usain is as humble as they come and surprisingly normal.
We were in a room where everyone wanted a piece of him, but he was more than happy to be interviewed by me giving me more time than I actually needed. At the end he thanked me.
We talked about football and his love of Manchester United and he spoke to me of his dream of one day wearing the famous red and black and playing for the club he loves so much at Old Trafford.
Pipedream, maybe, but Usain has taken the first steps to achieving that unachievable goal.
Last week he made his debut for Central Coast Mariners in Australia. And guess what? He scored twice. Really cool finishes.
Now granted, Central Coast Mariners may not quite be in the same stratosphere as Manchester United (current form excluded), and the chances of him actually playing a professional game at Old Trafford are let’s say a little slim at best, but that doesn’t really matter.
Bolt became the world’s best sprinter and has won Olympic golds eight times but Ronaldo and Messi can sleep easy because he won’t become the world’s best footballer and will never challenge them for the Ballon d’Or.
After he retired from athletics he could have kicked back and put his feet up, took a slice of his undoubted fortune and bought himself a nice cool pad on the beach in Ocho Rios.
He’s a legend in Jamaica and can be talked about in the same breath as Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey and dare I say it, Haile Selassie (or Ras Tafari Makonnen to give him his real name).
Usain won’t get the freedom of a city in Jamaica, he can just have the keys to the whole country. They love him there that much.
This is a man remember who probably needed a break after he retired from athletics. He has trained just about every day of his life to be the best. Sure, he has bags of natural talent but he has worked hard from an early age.
No one would have begrudged him a bit of R&R. But no, he didn’t want it.
Instead Usain started training for an average football team in a less than average Australian league because he still has dreams to chase.
After the match when Lightning struck twice, Usain said: “Dreams become reality through hard work."
"My first start and scoring two goals, it’s a good feeling. I’m happy I could come here and show the world I’m improving. I’m keen to be a Mariner, to play my best and get into the team."
Usain has absolutely zero to prove. The man is a legend, he’s a GOAT, no, not curried goat, but greatest of all time.
Will he become the best footballer the world has ever seen? No, probably not. Will he get to play a professional game for his beloved Manchester United? Highly unlikely.
Is he the coolest person I’ve ever known? I’ll answer that in words Usain will understand.
“A mi fi tell yuh!”
For those of you unfamiliar with the Patois dialect, that simple means: “Yes, yes he is.” — VNS