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Friday, October 7, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesYOU HAD TO BE THERE !


Wednesday I was one of six St. Thomians to join 144 Crucians in a whale of a party complete with basketball game.
Up until Tuesday afternoon, the trip was iffy. When I asked Mario Moorehead about the arrangements, he told me "the original airplane deal fell through because they were going to send a 120-seat plane. Not until late Tuesday did we got confirmation on the 216 seat B-757 necessary for the 150 ticket holders."
I arrived on St. Croix at 3:30 p.m. via Seaborn Air. A friend took me home where I called the radio station around 4:30 to be told: "4 a.m. at the airport for a 6 a.m. departure. Look for Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights."
Wednesday morning, at least three hundred participants, family, friends, and well wishers congregated to the music of Stanley. Presenting our receipt to American Trans Air staff, we received a ticket for boarding. Inside the transient lounge we paid our $85 for T-shirt, ground transport, and Alamodome ticket.
The T-shirt had a VI flag on the back with the legend: "In the 1999 regular season of ‘The League,' the acronym MVP stood for Most Violent Player. The Most Valuable Player was the Virgin Islands own 'Fish and Fungi Man.'" Its yellow color guaranteed we would stand out in a crowd.
Everyone was UP, UP, UP for the trip. According to most travelers, we will "generate more publicity than the Government can buy."
Arriving in San Antonio around 11:30, we are met by at least four full TV crews including both major networks. Stanley and the Knights fired up, the banners were unfurled, and we paraded through the airport to four waiting buses.
The good ladies of St. Croix had spent Tuesday evening cooking and we lunched at the Alamo Park on a variety of Virgin Islands specialties.
The bus drivers showed us where to meet in the Alamodome parking lot after the game, then dropped us off at the Riverfront Mall. We got our tickets, filled our goodie bags with Brow soda, Crucian Rum, Tourism sun visors, tourism booklets, and Virgin Islands pins for distribution to people we would meet and promote the V. I.
I found a shop where cigars were hand rolled. They allowed they would enjoy the rum after work. Next I found Champions where I got a draft ale, and sat on the patio smoking my cigar while being serenaded with Peruvian pan flute music. Thank God for life.
After a while, Stanley and his Knights came by, and took over the venue. It was quite a scene with the Knights ripping out Crucian music with a hundred yellow-shirted Virgin Islanders doing their thing.
A lady from Stanford, N.C. and her mother from Sidney, Australia were in town from Wake Forest to see Tim Duncan play and had heard about the visiting Virgin Islanders on their television the night before.
As I was on my last draft, the Virgin Island contingent paraded past the restaurant on their way to the dome. We all paid our checks and joined in the tramp with Stanley leading the way, banners flying, and an ever expanding crowd of cheering onlookers.
The dome is huge, but the views are unlimited and the total effect leaves the viewer aware of all the action on the floor. We were clumped throughout the arena, but our yellow shirts made us most visible. I doubt anyone could convince a member of the troop we didn't make a difference. Not with Duncan scoring 33 points with 16 rebounds leading his team to an 89 to 77 victory in front of 39,514 screaming fans. The game was the perfect climax to a perfect day made even more enjoyable as all of us were in the company of like-minded individuals from the Virgin Islands.
As soon as the game was completed, we congregated on the busses. By midnight we were on the plane and by 6:30 a.m. had landed on St. Croix. Thank you Mario Moorehead for organizing the charter and staying on the air to keep us informed, Sen. Adelbert Bryan for keeping things moving right along, Rashidi Clenance for sterling acts of coordination, the good ladies of St. Croix for their culinary expertise, and Beverly of WSTX for her patience keeping me informed. What a great party.

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