What Ever Happened To Our Honeymoon?

Author: 
Earl Best
Date Published: 
1973-08-26
Source: 
Tapia
Page: 
12

Eddie Hart League openingHorse play in Orange Grove Savannah for Eddie Hart League opening, but no kind of play at Honeymoon Grounds.

IF YOU GO to the top of El Dorado Road in Tunapuna and turn east at Hillview College, you come to a sprawling playground. Time was when you could not pass here after 3 p.m. on any day in the week or any time on a weekend, public holiday or the school vacation, and not find a game in progress.

Football or cricket season, you could always find the fellas making a run or knocking with anything from a leather ball to a breadfruit, playing three line for jig, x-and-zop, marble or button win, felaying at swilled mad bulls, chickie chongs or homemade brown paper kites or simply waiting around for the inevitable action.

Nowadays, except for a few enthusiastic East St. George Basketball Association players and a handful of no less enthusiastic Wes Hall Youth Cricket League cricketers, Honeymoon (yes, despite the stern white letters glaring down from the official County Council sign on high "Recreation Ground") Honeymoon is deserted, lifeless. Yet, on almost every block the fellas are playing some kind of ball.

HUE AND CRY

That the Eddie Hart Football League (EHFL) began in the year Honeymoon was temporarily closed was a misfortune for Tunapuna. True enough, it was to this league that a lot of the Honeymoon crowd turned when it was clear that the closure was less temporary than we had thought.

If Tunapuna's sportsmen and sport lovers had raised a hue and cry (as well they might have, were it not for the EHFL!), Honeymooon would have been quickly restored to us. But precisely because we had somewhere to turn, we played our football and kept our mouths shut — mistake.

We abandoned our ground to the inefficiency and ineptitude of the powers that be. We said nothing much when work was begun threequarter way through the Sunday morning competition and no one had the courage or the courtesy to notify us beforehand. We said nothing when the work was not completed in time to allow the next year's competition to begin. We have not as a body said anything in the four years since then that the ground has lain idle, so the authorities continue to drag their feet.

Never again at Honeymoon will we see five simultaneous cricket matches on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, never will we see six football matches run off in a single Sunday morning, never gain will Honeymoon be Honeymoon.

REMOTE

No. Several years ago, as I imagine it, some nameless faceless, pusillanimous bureaucrat sitting at some paper strewn desk in some remote government office drove the first nail into the coffin of Honeymoon with a single fateful stroke of his pen.

I feel sure that he had never been to Honeymoon on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon in March/April or a Sunday morning or afternoon in October/November. Still he got word that the ground needed fixing and resolved that he would fix it.

DOG FIGHT

He did. He fixed it so that Tunapuna's sportsmen (Jimmy Springer, Fitzroy Valentine, Godfrey Harris are names that come immediately to mind) were forced to become a part of the dog fight that is "town football", so that Matadors and Zone 17 and Russians and Juniors soon became names of an era past.

None of us realized, on that October morning some six years ago when the terrible teeth marks of some mechanical giant which had come, not uncharacteristically, like a thief in the night, told us unequivocally that there would be no more football for that season at Honeymoon, that we had probably played our last match there.

Naturally, we were vexed, blasted vexed, at the manner in which the whole business had been done but our vexation was tempered by the thought of next year's improved playing conditions.

It's funny how the unpoliticized take these things for granted. "We government was going to fix we savannah for we — Magnum est PNM . . . etc". In our youthful exhuberance we failed until years later to see the light.

RAPE

It didn't dawn on us then the local culture had been irrevocably raped. Raped, yes, despite Constantine Park which, presumably, was intended to serve the community's needs during the brief period that Honeymoon received daily attention from the throng of mechanical giants and dwarfs.

The idea was, I think, to convert the ground into precisely what the sign says "Recreation Ground". Nowadays I marvel less at the insufferable arrogance of the proposers of the plan because of the Shanty Town Development and the proposals to convert the Queen's Park Savannah or George V Park into a stadium.

It is a different colour of the same horse. I suppose that one day somebody will be able to use the single turf wicket, the lawn tennis and basketball courts and the football ground. (Happily frequent use has so far been made of the set of concrete wickets laid down in the south-eastern corner of the field). I wonder, though, if it is for this alone that we have already waited six years.

PAVILION

The only obvious improvement to the terrain was the drainage system and even that was, it is now clear, a shoddy job since widish gullies are clearly visible all along the banks of the embankment and several yards have already been eroded from the projected playing area by the flowing water.

The ground whose actual playing area is greatly reduced has been, at any rate, seems like to be, completely enclosed but no provision seems to have been made for a pavilion of any consequence. Indeed, the general lay-out of the ground does not seem to allow for a pavilion with a commanding view of the whole.

So where are the better facilities our Councillor has been promising us ever since the days of his election campaign? Is the proposed Sporting Complex, as I have heard it called, ever going to get off the ground and provide the same services or be as much a part of the community's life as was Honeymoon?

Constantine Park, which is less than a mile away — ten minutes by car — stands as a living testimony to the blunderings of an administration completely devoid of imagination, originality or foresight.

Not a cent has come into public coffers as a result of its construction and the local football leagues must pay rental to Lever Bros. on the occasions that they decide to take gates, impossible at Constantine Park.

WHITE ELEPHANTS

Clearly, it is an error to impose on a community a set of facilities preconceived by some master planner and having little or no relation to the specific needs of that community. It happened everywhere with the Community Centres, so many white elephants, it happened in Shanty Town and again with George V Park.

The Honeymoon situation is manifestly identical. Who's next: Well, the Eddie Hart Football League, it is rumoured, is attempting to acquire its own grounds in Tacarigua. If the authorities get wind of it early, who knows what will happen.

Anyway, in Tunapuna Blackpool has managed to keep alive and give birth to what is fast becoming the most popular form of community entertainment (and protest!) — the Blockorama. That phenomenon is sure to throw up a unique type of athlete in the not too distant future but what is going to become of our footballers with over-zealous policemen seeking to arrest us the minute we start a game of raising, up and down, or pass out in the street.

The community is slowly adjusting to the absence of Honeymoon, but unconsciously. Consciously, each and everyone of us waits for Honeymoon to be restored to us. Less and less patiently as we become more and more certain that all the King's horses and all the King's men cannot put Honeymoon together again.