Sports & Cancer: Never Give Up on Your Dreams

By Zaheer Clarke

Published July 3, 2017

Oftentimes, your love for sports can make the difficult moments in your life a little easier. For several individuals battling cancer, it’s this love and the love from their family that transform them into superheroes.

Hundreds Bid Farewell to Captain Horace Burrell
(Source: BOJTV)

Last week, the entire Jamaican football fraternity paid respects to a man, Captain Horace Burrell, whose dream united a people and made a nation proud. In 1994, Burrell marched into the presidency of the Jamaica Football Federation. His immediate dream at the time was for Jamaica to attain qualification for the 1998 World Cup in France by 1997. It was a daunting task to be achieved in three years, but it was a task that required an enchanting and stomping leader, and that he was.

The Captain, with Rene Simoes at his hip, transformed Jamaica’s outlook on its place in world football with steely performances in match after match ‘at the office’ and overseas. Surprisingly for many outside of Jamaica, Jamaica qualified for the 1998 World Cup and went on to finish 22nd out of the 32 teams that participated. Amazingly, Jamaica finished ahead of teams like the USA, Cameroon, South Africa, Scotland and others. Many will forget that in 1994, Jamaica was ranked as low as 75th in the world by FIFA. However, it was under Burrell’s tenure that Jamaica rose to its highest ranking of 27th in 1998. Continue reading

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Sports Journalists and Columnists, let us lift the standards

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Broadcast: February 18, 2017 on SportsNation Live

First published February 20, 2017, Republished April 3, 2017

The standards of sports and opinion journalism in Jamaica are falling. It’s time to lift the standards.

President Donald Trump (l) and his counsellor Kellyanne Conway have waged an unprecedented war on facts and truths since moving into the White House.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)

A friend of mine recently said, “The most dangerous thing on planet earth is an opinionist whose opinions are formed void of facts.” So, I quickly added, “While that statement may be true, what say you of Donald Trump?”

Opinionists are like sand grains on the beach. They are everywhere and worse when it comes to the world of sports. They can be found on the street side, at the bus stop, at the gym, and at the lunchroom at work. Unsurprisingly, another place you will find loads of them is at your local bar, especially when you are trying to have a relaxing evening with the distilled spirits. Sadly, these opinionists often discuss sports in the most nescient and puzzling ways, which both baffles and depresses you simultaneously. We all know the individuals I’m referring to. At times, we entertain them but deep down we abhor them and their unfiltered claptrap. Continue reading

Sports, Technology & the Future: Will robots entertain us?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published March 13, 2017

Sports is big business and technology has played an integral part in how we are entertained today through sports. Will robots entertain us in future and be our future sports stars?

Deandre Jordan is seen shooting while wearing a wristband that records his biometrics.
(Source: ESPN)

Recently, DeAndre Jordan, the NBA’s leader in defensive rebounds and field goal percentage, wore a little biometric computer called WHOOP on his wrist in an NBA game. The WHOOP tracks his heart rate, skin temperature and other metrics. The device according to Jordan has assisted him with recovery after travelling as well as with his sleeping and eating habits. In essence, Jordan told ESPN’s TrueHoop that the device has taught him what he needs to do and what he does not need to do.

A few weeks later, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, using former New Orleans Pelicans’ Langston Galloway showcased some of the real-time biometrics data that could be collected on an NBA athlete. With wires strapped to his stomach and chest, viewers were able to view biometric data on Galloway’s heart rate, skin temperature, oxygen levels, respiration levels, sleep quality, caffeine levels, and blood pressure. Technology like this is currently banned in the NBA and not allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement, but that may change in the new deal due this year. Continue reading

Zaheer Clarke & ZFLS cops recognition at 2016 PAJ Journalism Awards

By Zaheer’s Facts, Lies and Statistics

Published November 28, 2016

2016-paj-awards-zaheer-kim

Zaheer E. Clarke (left) and his elated wife, Kimsacha Williams-Clarke, at The National Journalism Awards function on November 26, 2016.

Last week Saturday, the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) recognized Zaheer’s Facts, Lies and Statistics (ZFLS), and its editor-in-chief, Zaheer E. Clarke, at the National Journalism Awards function for outstanding work in journalism.

Though Clarke was a little disappointed to miss out on the major awards this year, he and Jamaica Gleaner’s Michael Abrahams were recognized with Certificates of Merit for their outstanding pieces in the Opinion Journalism section while ZFLS was the sole recipient of recognition – a Certificate of Merit – in the Best News, Sports or Current Affairs Blog category. Interestingly, Clarke and Abrahams were the only columnists recognized in the Morris Cargill Award for Opinion Journalism category, thus inadvertently sharing the unofficial 2016 Columnist of the Year title. Additionally, for the second year running ZFLS copped the Blog of the Year title. Continue reading

One of Jamaica’s greatest nights reduced to bigotry

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published August 23, 2016, in the Jamaica Observer

On one of the greatest nights in Jamaica’s athletic history, the good, sad, and utterly despicable elements of the human psyche were fully or secretly displayed on the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.

Jamaicans in Half-Way-Tree square celebrate the successes in the recent Rio Olympics. (Kenyon Hemans)

Jamaicans in Half-Way-Tree square celebrate the successes in the recent Rio Olympics.
(Kenyon Hemans/Jamaica Observer)

On the night of August 16, 2016, I went to my sister’s house to pick up my four-year-old daughter and saw history for Jamaica being made. Twenty-two-year-old Omar McLeod – and Jamaica – won Olympic gold for the first time in the 110m hurdles.

My daughter was beaming with pride as she raced around, with her index finger pointing to the sky, shouting, “Jamaica! Jamaica! Jamaica land we love!” She was like an athlete doing numerous victory laps around the 400m track at the Olympic stadium, albeit, her 400m track was situated around her aunt’s coffee table. Continue reading