Toot! Toot! Toot! Go Antigua go! Look at all those people! I had never seen so much people in my life, and everyone looked so happy. This was cricket, and it was my first time going to a game. Antigua was playing against Guyana, and it was so exciting!
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! I almost fell out of my seat with fright. The sky looked like a beautiful Christmas tree, as fireworks lit up the sky. Almost everyone was shouting and waving their Antigua flags, dancing to the beat of the loud calypso music. People were holding up signs reading “6 runs.”
“Mommy, what’s going on?” I asked.
“Antigua’s batsman just hit the ball for six runs,” she replied.
After that, every time Antigua’s batsmen hit the ball for six or four runs, my god sister and god brother, Shasha, Jay and I jumped up shouting and dancing, waving our flags, and blowing our horns like everybody else. Oh, this was so exciting!
Antigua was making a lot of runs, and the man on the microphone would sing:
“If you’re happy and you know it, blow your horn,” and every one would go, “toot! toot!” with their horns.
The cheerleaders danced wildly in front of the crowd.
“Look, Shasha! Some one is dressed up like an M & M candy! Yum, yum, yum, I could just down there and eat it,” I said, rubbing my stomach.
When Guyana went in to bat, they were making a lot of runs and catching up to Antigua. We only got to dance and wave when we outed one of their batsmen. The children were still having lots of fun, but not the grown up Antiguan fans. You should have heard the “ chuptzes” and seen the sad faces every time the Guyana batsmen hit the ball for six or four runs. Mommy kept saying,
“This not sweet now, I just feel like going home. It looks like we’re going to lose this game, and I don’t want to be here to see it.”
“No mommy, please let’s just stay a little longer, please… please!” I begged.
Just then, two men, one from Guyana and one from Antigua, started to curse each other, and a fight almost broke out. Then there was a loud shout, and everyone looked back at the field, even the men who were about to fight. Guyana’s batsman had just hit the ball high in the air, and I heard mommy screaming,
There was silence, as the ball came down, and then a loud groan, “aaaahhh!” from the Antiguans, as the ball was dropped. Guyana’s fans were screaming with delight.
“Mommy, who’s winning?” I asked.
“Seven balls to go, six runs to make to win the game,” Mommy replied.
I didn’t really understand her, but everyone looked so nervous, I guessed she really didn’t know who was winning. I know mommy was praying silently. Then it was all over, as the ball was hit for six runs, and the Guyana fans shouted and danced in celebration. Antigua had lost. Anyone could tell by the sad look on the faces of the Antiguans. Mommy looked like she was going to cry.
“Oh! No!” I thought, “I hope she is not going to embarrass me by crying in front of everybody.”
That night, I dreamt I was still at the game, and I could still hear the song,
“If you’re happy and you know it blow your horn…Toot! Toot!”
Editor’s note: Zion was 8 when she submitted and earned honourable mention in the 12 and younger age category of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge, a programme started in 2004 by me to nurture and showcase Antiguan and Barbudan literature. She wrote “The Night I went to Cricket” after attending an Antigua-Guyana Caribbean Twenty/Twenty cricket match. Considering the age of the writer and the vitality and vividness and organization of the story, I think this is a promising start.