'One step at a time' is always best


'One step at a time' is always best

Saturday, January 11, 2020

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The late, legendary Jamaican Olympian Mr Herb McKenley was a wonderful storyteller. He enjoyed the telling of the famous 4x400m relay run for the gold medal at the Helsinki Olympics of 1952.

History records that Mr McKenley, on the third leg of the relay, got the baton trailing the leaders by a substantial distance — some reports say as many as 10 metres.

To the amazement of those watching he made up ground to such an extent that he handed over to anchor runner Mr George Rhoden with a slight lead. The latter heroically held off the great American Mr Mal Whitfield to cross the line first and win gold for Jamaica in world record time.

Mr McKenley's relay leg is still credited among the greatest of all time.

The way he told it, he almost panicked when he got the baton so far behind the leaders. He was about to set off on a wild chase in order to make up ground, when Mr McKenley remembered words of wisdom from his college coach in the United States.

“Herb,” the voice in his head reminded him, “take it one step at a time.”

So, he kept it in his head down and proceeded to run his own race, one step at a time.

The next thing he knew, he heard the crowd roaring. He looked up to realise he was on the home stretch. He had gone past the entire field, and would hand over to Mr Rhoden in pole position.

It's a lesson all of us should bear in mind, regardless of our role or station in life: No matter what, it's always best not to overreach, but to take it one step at a time.

And it's a strategy the West Indies cricket team will do well to take around with them on the hard road ahead as they seek to return Caribbean cricket to something close to its former glory.

Mr Haydn Walsh recognised the value of one step at a time as he rallied the West Indies from what seemed certain defeat at 148-7 against Ireland on Thursday to a thrilling one-wicket victory with one ball to spare.

It gave the West Indies a 2-0 series lead with one game remaining — the first series victory for the West Indies in a One-Day International series (ODI) on home soil since 2014.

On the 10th anniversary of his father's death, Mr Walsh kept his head and did it one step at a time, guiding his team home with an unbeaten 46.

As he is reported to have told post-match interviewers on Thursday: “…[I]t's cricket, you can't just come and 'bang, bang, bang', and win a game, you have to actually build an innings.”

There are those who will dismiss the West Indies series victory over Ireland as insignificant, because “it's only Ireland”. Ultimately, though, regardless of the circumstances, the best any of us can do is the best we can, one step at a time.

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