A Tiger Woods experience

By Nicosia Smith

It’s Spring in New York City and I was going to meet Tiger Woods.

Yes, the Woods.

The occasion, a Barnes and Nobel Event at 33rd East 17th Street.

Excitement bubbling, I entered the book store, I was already late for the 12:30p.m. event, or so I thought. A poster declared, signing on the Fourth Floor, so I confirmed with the book seller.

However, with sincere firmness I was told the signing was closed. For a moment that sounded strange.

So I kept probing. I asked! So no one else is allowed into the event. A resounding ‘no’, I got. My heart sunk. I heard the bookseller vaguely saying – at 9a,m. the store began sharing wrist bands, 300 bands were shared, allowing Woods to sign two books per person.

How naïve can someone be, I thought. How naïve could I be? Could this really have been a free-for-all event, even on International Happiness Day.

I circled in the store. Pondering, strategizing, rethinking and planning my next move.

I was not the only one trying to get in. Others were too. I got as far as the entrance to the Fourth Floor. A wired security guard was checking for wrist bands.

I watched.

There must be a way, I thought. Seeing Woods may be off the table, but maybe, I can get a signed book. Determined, I went to buy a book. Selling the book, the bookseller reiterated, I will not get it signed. I bought the book.

I returned to the escalator, at the ascent of the Fourth Floor. But who can get it signed for me?

The first person I asked, did not hear me or so I thought. Another man I asked was willing but already had two books. I changed to the other side of the escalator.

it was getting closer to 1 p.m. The event was closing at 2p.m.

I was desperate and I needed a bathroom break. As a slender man came-by with one book in hand – I made a move. I reached out my book pleadingly. Looking at the security he wanted confirmation to take it. Sensing his agitation I yelled, ‘you are allowed to have two books signed’. Satisfied he took the book. “Are you going to wait for it,” he asked, ‘Yes I said’. trying not to shout, ‘are you kidding me, you bet I am waiting’. “Do you know him,’ a man looking on asked, ‘No’, I replied. He too was trying to see Woods.

I moved to the descending end of the escalator and waited. I waited, waited and I waited!

Children, parents, grandparents and entire families came down. Lawn chairs, lunch bags and blankets in hand. The press interviewed, photographers shoot and book scalpers sought to buy the signed books. By this time, I was painfully awear that I could not withstand nature’s call much longer. But not wanting to leave I prayed the wait would end. I kept trying to remember the exact description of the kind man – blue flannel shirt and tall. Panic stepped in, is that all! Should I be remembering something else I asked myself.

I hope he does not take off the flannel shirt, I hope he remembered me and I hope I am not going to be ‘stiffed’. One man shouted toward the escalator: “How does he look?” Holding his signed book, “buff,” the man respond. Descending, they gently hugged their books, some smiled, proclaiming Woods’ generosity. In my mind I though, Woods must be tired. By now he had signed hundreds of books. One hour had passed.

But where is my book? Where is my book?

Then I saw him, to say I was happy to see him would be an understatement. I was ecstatic, thrilled and kept smiling at him as he descended the escalator. Looking at me, a slender man in blue fannel shirt, he remembered. Thank you, thank you, I said. As I held the book, I realized that I do not know his name – I forgot to ask him his name, but I will always remember him – my Tiger Woods replacement.

“The 1997 Masters-My Story,” by Tiger Woods with Lorne Rubenstein, will always mark International Happiness Day for me.




FiFa World Cup decision Sunday

Bellaggio, next to the Vancouver Convention Center, Canada Place, has a welcoming sign for sporting fans needing a place to watch the game. (Nicosia Smith photo)

Bellaggio, next to the Vancouver Convention Center, Canada Place, has a welcoming sign for sporting fans needing a place to watch the game. (Nicosia Smith photo)

By Nicosia Smith

Come Sunday sporting fans around the world will be glued to their televisions.

And for what, to see the crowning of the FiFa World Cup champion.

One month of agony and defeat for some and marvelous joy for others will come to an end.

This world-cup has brought much lamentation for the host nation Brazil.

Namely, a 1-7 defeat by Germany in the semifinals.

And having to watch Argentina in the finals against Germany cannot be easy for Brazilians.

But this World Cup has also showed us that a team USA slogan, “I believe we can win” push the team out of the group of death. And this hope produced a record breaking 16 saves by team USA goal keeper Tim Howard.

I have embraced this world-cup like I have done many others, but I have lamented it as well.

Not only because teams I have supported have lost, like Brazil, but also for football itself.

While I have seen some teams fight to the last drop, others have given up so easily.

Others have disgraced themselves by un-sportsman like conduct. And whole teams have been embarrassed by their federations.

Financial disgrace, that is. Some teams did not have sufficient funds to sustain themselves at the tournament.

I love football, but much more needs to be done for this sport by the governments of these national teams.

So many children have attended these games and many of them may become players.

FiFa should ensure that they reach a better sport, worthy of the love it is lavish with.

So which ever spot you find yourself watching the game on Sunday enjoy, enjoy! I will be watching too.


FIFA World Cup brings Goal for television

By Nicosia Smith

Social media have quite a lot of power, but for one month a more traditional device takes the lead.

It is that time of the year when televisions around the world are hugged or threaten.

Yes, it is most cherished.

And why does the television become so important, in most of the world, two words FIFA WORLD CUP.

In Africa; South, Central and Latin America; Europe; Asia; North America and Australia, cheers and jeers are directed to the television.

It is an equalizer for one month (June 12-July 13).

In most of the world it will be the one thing that can get a conversation going.

But be careful. Tread lightly. Feel your way through first, before speaking badly about any of the 32 teams

World Cup T-shirt (Nicosia Smith photo)

World Cup T-shirt (Nicosia Smith photo)


Because it is also a very passionate time. Some come to bodily blows in defense of their  teams.

It takes considerably strong restraint to be neutral, and it is very difficult to think straight in the heat of the moment.

For the next couple of weeks, I will be watching more television sports than I did in the last four years.

And all of it will be football.

I will get additional news on twitter and post my updates on Facebook, of course.

Nevertheless, it is the television set that I will mostly watch. And if at all on the internet, it will be on the go.

Every four years I get a thrill and excitement from football that is unequal.

So, as the world meets in Brazil I join them from Brooklyn, through my television.

Let the artist in you come out

Alexandre Bilodeau and Fre’de’ric Bilodeau respectively (Google image)

By Nicosia Smith

I must say that the arctic winter blast has somewhat curtail my movements.

So far, I have missed the New York Ceramics Fair held January 22-26 and the Metro Show January 23-26.

The Metro Show was touted as 37 galleries and 37 points of view, covering the historic to the contemporary.

With my new interest in a wide range of cultural art works, I was especially interested in the Metro Show.

And well this week, it was just too cold. But not quite complaining.

Attending live gallery events, lectures and seminars widens my perspectives on the growing contemporary art world.

So I often look forward to these opportunities to learn.

The arctic blast has meant that I find my self catching up on the news – domestic and foreign.

And although, this process can be very disturbing, I was inspired by a feature on Canadian Painter Fre’de’ric Bilodeau, 28, with cerebral palsy.

Fre’de’ric ‘s brother Alexandre, 26, a gold medal skier, was inspired by his elder brother to achieve his olympic success.

I have thought much about Fre’de’ric since I have seen the piece.

The questions ranging from, how long it takes him to finish one oil painting and how does he handle those frustrating moments trying to complete his piece.

As we all are face with trying to succeed.

He was told that cerebral palsy will make him stop walking at age 12, but at 28, he still walks a bit, but uses a wheelchair a lot more.

His determination is a source for inspiration. Proceeds from his paintings are funnel toward fighting the disease.

This is why I love the arts, because there is that creative spirit and zeal in all of us, that if we let it out, it will soar.

As it has allow Fre’de’ric to do.

West Indies victory the Beginning

(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

West Indies – the national team we love and most times dislike.

And now winner of the ICC World T20 World Cup against Sir Lanka on Oct 7.

Should I dare dream of something bigger and better.

Or is this another short tale, with an even shorter ending.

I love cricket, but I do not enjoy watching the dismal performance of the West Indies team.

Thirty three years ago they had this experience, image it, 33 years ago.

Team Captain Darren Sammy said they were inspired by the Caribbean’s shining 2012 olympic athletes.

If only they can continue to be so inspired, it will prove to be prolific for this struggling team.

So I too will join in the congratulations and cheers, but cautiously.

Because I will like to see this team return to its winning ways of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Olympics and Corruption in the Caribbean

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt           (Photo courtesy of Getty Images/ESPN)

by Nicosia Smith

Caribbean Olympiads at London 2012 have more on their minds than medals.

The Olympics are known for its controversies over the years. Athletes are also known for campaigning for or against causes at international events.

This year Haitian jumper Samyr Laine wants money from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

It is good for the Caribbean to rake in gold, silver and bronze, but it is better to highlight what is happening in your country to the world.

For example, highlight corruption, greed and the fraud bringing down Caribbean countries.

This year Jamaica apparently has the largest contingent with 50 Olympiads, followed by Cuba. Limited funding, political infiltrations and poor management has hampered the growth of sports in the Caribbean.

Yes, you are probably saying which government will send athletes to speak out against them.

It has been done. Every year athletes seek asylum in the host countries. For some of the same reasons I have mentioned.

A revolution of change can be started through sports. What if Usain Bolt in the 100m, have a sigh on his vest saying stop corruption. It will surely get the world talking about corruption.

Here is to a start.