The Home of Heroes

The emerging nations of the world today usually find themselves caught up in a spate of exercises aimed at creating new industries, thereby promoting the economic standard of the particular community.
This is the prime consideration of any self respecting country wanting to throw off the shackles of colonialism and become an economically viable unit in the sharply gathering storms of world affairs.
But the advancement of any community lies not only in the erection of new industries, or in the indulgence of vast construction programmes. Equally important and of no less concern is the community’s cultural life and upliftment. In this respect, it is perhaps safe to say that the field of sport has no equal.
Sport has seen the rise and fall of champions, has brought fame and glory to thousands the world over. It has broken through the penury barrier, broken down, and in some instances swept away the social barriers in many a society.

In this, Barbados is no exception. For this tiny outrider of the Antilles, now on the threshold of nationhood, is world famous for its flying fish, its rum and the outstanding contribution which its sons of the soil have made on the map of world cricket.

At the moment, this 166 square mile “garden” with its teeming population of 243,000, is the nursery of West Indies cricket which now enjoys top berth on the list of world cricketing countries.

But the story of Barbados’ contribution to the world cricket scene has a setting and a romance all its own.
And while Barbados enjoys the unique distinction of being the nursery of West Indies cricket, Barbados cricket itself, owes its current warmth and vitality to its own special nursery, the “Framefood” competitions of the early Twentieth Century and the existing Cricket League.

Cricket today is a highly commercialized business. The game abounds in professionals who are offered, and in some cases, demand large fees for their contributions to the game.

But in Barbados many years ago, there was a different type of professional who dared not make even the slightest or humblest suggestion for an improvement in salary, far less barter over his current income. These “professionals” were, in fact, members of the ground staffs of clubs in which the game was played for recreational purposes by people of a certain social standing.

‘I’hese members of the ground staff, in addition to their prescribed duty of preparing grounds, were also expected to give their “masters” adequate batting practice. They were never allowed the luxury of handling a bat, except when a change was absolutely necessary, and then they were required to fetch the replacement, because they were not regarded as “equals”.

This was a situation and condition of life which they obviously accepted, but above all else, it was their love for the game and the thought of the number of coins to be tossed to them at the end of a practice session that kept them in this particular station of life.

The members of these ground staffs usually hailed from the villages in the immediate vicinity of the various clubs, and after a time challenges would go out from the staff of one club to that of another, and in all cases it was expected that the “ground boys” by their performances, would emulate their “masters”.

It was out of such a situation that “Frame-food” cricket was born. As more and more clubs sprang up throughout the City and St. Michael, the demand for more ground staff automatically rose. Hence the Framefood competition became much more virile.

Then along came incentive. It is reported that a Mr. Martinez who ran a Commission House in the city, found great joy and amusement out of watching matches of a Framefood nature and he offered a cup for competition.

There is no record as to champion team from ear to year, nor does memory serve informants well enough to recall any consistently outstanding performances.