All books represent author journeys and ethnographic texts provide an especially acute representation of relationships formed along the way. I have considered where to place the origins of this text. Should it be with my doctoral supervisor at the University of Toronto, Dr Peter Donnelly, who helped me consider the possibility of switching my focus from my personal passion, capoeira, to my father’s fixation, cricket? Did the journey start with my fourth-year undergraduate exchange mentor at Victoria University in Australia, Dr Chris Hallinan, who recommended that I would make a good academic, an idea I had never before contemplated. Or should I trace back even earlier? In many ways, this book began when my eighth-grade teacher at Ramer Wood Public School, Ted Cowan, told me the best athletes are “thinkers,” instantly collapsing what had hitherto been two separate categories in my mind. He also taught me to think critically about the sometimes disingenuous separation of fact and fiction and the value of telling stories for both speakers and listeners.
These obvious origins were major milestones along the journey, but give exclusive credit to the educators of the academic institutions that formed me. Without their critical support, this book would not exist, but the foundations are with my first educators, my mother and father, who were born in the Caribbean, migrated to Canada in the 1970s and raised me with a love for words, a knowledge of sport and the freedom to pursue what excites me, even when it so differed from their interests. To you I give foremost thanks.
Without the cricket expertise, wise ideas, open sharing and nostalgic stories of Caribbean cricketers in the Greater Toronto Area, there would be no text. Thank you E. Bertram Joseph, Eugene Soanes, Henry Yearwood, John Verneuil, Keith Greene, Nigel Griffith, Roy Pollard and a few hundred others. I deeply appreciate the unwavering support, shrewd judgments and cogent advice from my doctoral committee and other mentors: Drs Ato Quayson Cameron McCarthy, Caroline Fusco, D. Alissa Trotz, Margaret MacNeill, Melanie Newton, Patricia Landolt, Peter Donnelly, Rinaldo Walcott and Russell Field. I am truly grateful for the critical insights, careful editing, creative input and patient reading the following people have offered me since I stepped into fieldwork in 2008: Chris Nock, Dian Bridge, Eileen Joseph, Kyoung-Yim Kim, Parissa Safai and Yuka Nakamura. And certainly, each member of the publication teams and manuscript reviewers for Bloomsbury and Manchester University Press deserve accolades, especially for your patience.
The financial, intellectual and emotional support I have received over the past decade was essential for me to persevere and remain healthy. I am thankful for a doctoral award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and my colleagues at the University of Toronto including Bruce Kidd, Sandy Wells, Simon Darnell, and Tanya Lewis. Two postdoctoral awards, one from the School of Physical Education at the University of Otago and the other, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Banting Fellowship hosted by the Faculty of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, sustained me. I give a sincere thanks to the School and the Faculty for supporting my research. At those institutions, Drs Doug Booth, Josh Newman, Marc Falcous, Steve Jackson and Wesley Crichlow taught me immeasurably about the art, science and politics of ethnography and academia.
The energies of my closest friends and family members continue to nourish me every day, and the tenacity with which they tackle a wide range of professional, intellectual, familial, and emotional projects gives me the resolve to continue my own. Thank you, Alex Karolyi, Chris Nock, Claudia DeSimone, Crystal Burke, Jamaal Joseph, Jane Lee, Jeffrey Rawlins, Jill Russell, Josephine Mullally, Laura Molinari, Nataleah Hunter Young, Tafiya Joseph Nock, and Tiombe Joseph Nock. Thanks to all of you for keeping me whole and happy, encouraging me to set my goals ever higher, and helping me to complete this difficult journey.