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.




Reggae Marathon Jams

Photos Courtesy of Reggae Marathon Ltd

Reggae Marathon Ltd, it is as the name suggests – a jamming long distance run, in Jamaica.

I met members of the organization on their way to Kingston, after attending the cancelled New York City Marathon. In the US, First Lady Michelle Obama, Let’s Move Campaign, is facing an uphill task getting children to exercise and eat healthy. The first lady may want to consider having a yearly running competition as an additional motivator.

I had not heard of Reggae Marathon before, but the whole idea of organizing a yearly marathon around reggae appeal to me. So I asked Diane C. Ellis, the sponsorship director, to answer a few questions for hopbrooklyn:

Q: Base upon your experiences, when you first introduce this organization to people, what are some of their reactions?

A: Mostly amazement as Jamaica is known as the “sprint factory” so a successful long distance event is somewhat of a surprise to most

Q: Describe for me what Reggae Marathon is all about?

A: Reggae Marathon is Jamaica’s premier international marathon event in Jamaica attracting visitors from over 30 different countries, the event is in it’s twelfth year and has been included four times in the world’s top ten marathon events. This year the organizers and event won the JHTA’s Abe Issa Award for excellence:

Q: Explain what makes the December 1 marathon a special event for runners?

A: The Reggae Marathon event is a fun event characterized by good vibes and lots of sweet reggae music

Q: Athletics is very big in Jamaica and your athletes have gain international fame, do you foresee such an accomplishment for marathons as well? And how do you plan to achieve this?

A: The mandate of the organizers of the Reggae Marathon event, the Jamdammers Running Club of Kingston is to develop long distance running in Jamaica. Reggae Marathon is committed to developing long distance running in Jamaica and promoting a healthy lifestyle through running. We are already seeing the success of our road race series with some of the athletes participating in the Reggae Marathon series being victorious at events such as the Carifta Games in the longer distances.

Q: Inspiration comes in different ways, what inspires your institution?

A: The natural talent of our Jamaican runners, the creativity and sweet rhythms of Reggae Music and the natural beauty of Jamaica.

Q: After preparing for an event like the New York City Marathon and it is cancelled, what are some of the losses, financial or loss time, means to an organization as yours?

A: We have not calculated the loss, we calculate the benefits of being able to lure potential runners to Jamaica. The loss and dislocation of New Yorkers is far greater than any financial or time loss we have experienced

Q: You often participate in international events, what sets you apart from the other marathon bodies at these events and why?

A: The lively vibe of the promotion, the joy of the music and sport combined

Q: How many international meets do you attend per year and in which countries? Also how large are your contingents at these events?

A: Our promotions are mostly focused on the east coast of the USA, we have other representatives who promote for Reggae Marathon in Canada & Europe, the delegations are usually not larger than 4- 6 people

Q: There are achievements and moments that rank higher than others, describe some of the organization’s proudest moments to date and say why?

A: On four occasions, we received the news that the event has been included in the world’s top ten marathon events and receiving this year’s Abe Issa Award for excellence. Also seeing athletes who have participated in the event and road race series over the years, gain victory in local and international long distance events.

Q: What misconceptions would you like to change most, about marathons, in Jamaica or in general?

A: Only that Jamaican runners are not able to successfully compete in the longer distances.

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.