Once upon a time in the Kingdom of FIFA there were two Princes: Prince Lennart and Prince Jack. Prince Lennart was stately and had been to the lists many times, while Prince Jack, finally of age, was now permitted through a series of preliminary jousts with lesser opponents, able to arrive this day on the pitch in Dortmund where their metal would be tested.
Prince Jack saw his quest as bringing dignity to his people and ultimately the recognition of his island nation as a real competitor in world sport. Don Quixote might well have launched a similar trek. The City of Dortmund hosted the armies of the Yellow from the north and those clad in Red from the sea. The expectations of most was that the armies of Prince Jack would be decimated when facing the formidable hosts of the older and confident Lennart.
The allies of Prince Jack from across the sea all hoped for a credible performance since the common reputations of all his neighbors were dependent on how well young Jack could defend the northern German outpost. Prince Jack is the leader of the smallest country ever to make it to the finals. The idea that it could fight with parity and come away, not only unbloody, but unbowed was beyond expectations.
Sir Leo of the Low-Land provided the army of Prince Jack with a new philosophy and tactic. He saw to it that they were physically prepared and ghosts of their past were nowhere to be found that day on the fields of Dortmund. Prince Lennart's warriors fought valiantly. Their side actually enjoyed a physical majority for half the battle. Nonetheless, a young knight, Shaka Hislop, experienced in the ways of King Arthur's court, stayed off the yellow dragon, beating it back throughout the almost 2 hour battle, while the Red Army's older Field General Yorke showed that he could live up to his potential.
Prince Lennart (pictured on the left) and Prince Jack (on the right) both sat intensely focused and prepared for any eventuality, each hoping for a goal while both dreading the same if piercing their own armor. For Prince Lennart, who almost became King in 1998 and is the Royal responsible for the organizing of the games in Germany this summer, would love to deliver a championship while under his watch.
Experiencing your army on the battlefield has a special rush which is only associated with total commiment and dedication; both Princes share that in common.
Today's victory would not come by defeating the opponent, but rather by surviving the great challenge from Prince Lennart's domain. The moment of success was realized by Princess Maureen, who exudes the total joy and happiness that pent up frustration turning to relief can uniquely create. She, along with her island nation would celebrate this day as a moment in history. The smallest country's first point in a World Cup Competition.
The two princes gallantly offer each other congratulations for surviving the day and know that both have the chance to move ahead, but it will not be without its challenges. For Prince Lennart, a bittersweet pill, never really expecting to be humiliated by the small island nation; while Prince Jack mentally scanned decades of sacrifice and losses to finally arrive at today's joyful celebration. The lingering question one has to ask... Was it worth it?
As I walked up the stairs with Prince Jack, the one thing I was certain this day was that he felt like a King.
Congratulations Jack, Maureen, all of my Trinidadian family that I love for these many years. It was a true joy to see so much pleasure come to you. I hope you can repeat this again and have even greater successes in the days to come.
We are all very proud of you.