International Cricket Match Referee Devdas Govindjee, who is the official travel correspondent for this blog, is currently in the USA for the ICC Americas Division 1 Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Dev sent me the email below and I would love to share it with all my readers.
Greetings from Fort Lauderdale where the body clock has still not totally adjusted and proof of that is that it is now only 4.15 a.m on this Monday morning whilst back home in SA your weekis already well on it's way.
It seems like I have been here ages already- merely because in the 1 day that I had free ( Sat) I managed to have such a full day thanks to my special friend Mukie who drove down from his West Palm Beach home which is about an hour away and then proceeded to show me some wonderful sights in and around the Florida south regions- these are all already on fb and reflect the kindness shown to be- it makes one humbled and also brings a realisation of what the term true friendship really is.
Anyway, after the enjoyment of Sat it was down to work on Sunday with a breakfast meeting at 7 a.m and then a visit to the venues to do ground and facility inspection- thereafter meetings at 4.30 and 6.30 with the umpires, scorers and then the team managements respectively- the 5 teams participating all checked in during the course of the morning.
The meetings went well as did the stadium inspections and now today the tournament gets under way with a full programme of matches at both venues.
There will be a morning session which starts at 10 and then the pm matches get under way at 3.
This pattern of matches will continue all week until sunday and Monday next week has been set aside for any incompleted matches or additional matches that might be fixtured if need be.
I am really excited about getting the tournament officially started today because that is when I can start looking at all the various aspects which constitutes my being the tournament referee- the local offices for the Americas have extended my usual ICC brief by wanting my assistance and input into the structuring of their umpiring systems so it will mean taking notes and making recommendations as the tournament progressed.
It is still at times a "pinch yourself" moment when one pauses to realise that here I am heading a tournament for the ICC thousands of kilometres and across oceans from Port Elizabeth- those moments can become emotional ones but that would in my case again lead me down the path of memory lane and then i reflect on all those people who have over the years played a part ( does not matter how big or small that part was) in adding the necessary layers to mould a product that is now able to enjoy so many special moments- these people would range from my parents who brought me into a home where Sport was always played or a topic of conversation through to my schooldays and university years where sport formed the centre of my focus ( studies took a back seat most times!) .
Thereafter as club and provincial and national tournaments were played by me ( and this extends beyond cricket to tennis and table tennis and soccer) my mind flits through the countless team mates who I learnt from, captains who left indelible impressions on me, opponents who fought hard but never unfairly and always with mutual respect.
Then there would be family who needed to understand my nature and love for sport to accept hours away in training or at tournaments ( so whats changed?) knowing that there are always sacrifices to be made and at times casualties along the way and that the unstinting support is valued -
and finally - friends who stood by you and gave support and then shared in either triumphs or disappointments - so there is a category for the reader of this to place himself or herself into and all I want to say is
"look on all with an equal eye"