The International Writers Magazine:British Virgin Islands
Virgin Gorda Football Authority
British island of Virgin Gorda, near its much larger sister
Island of Tortola, brags of a population of almost one thousand
happy souls, two hotels, one barclosed most of the time
a fine marina, and wonderful beaches. It was in the early seventies
when I had the good fortune to be on the island, many times, to
help build the marina docking facilities.
Near the center
of the island is the Lord Nelson Inn owned and managed by Tony Mack,
British citizen and gourmet chef of Italian origin, who proudly owns
the islands only television set. TV programming is transmitted from
St. Thomas and mostly re-runs of Bonanza, the Partridge Family, cartoons,
and other network out-dated productions. A few live studio showscosmetics
for the modern woman, political debates, and local sports round out
local programmingall crammed between four in the afternoon and
ten at night contributing to six fascinating hours of TV viewing.
Stories in Hacktreks
Tony took an interest in Monday night footballa recent innovation
to television by ABC. He knew nothing of the game but a timely visit
by a young lady, who took an interest in him during her stay, tutored
him in the game. Soon afterward, on Monday nights, the small lobby of
the Lord Nelson Inn became a crowded arena for football mania. With
his understanding of the game, his confidence grew and then so did his
passion for wagering.
Being a small island of limited resources, where everyone was family
or friend, Tony would only wager a dinner as the prize for the winners.
If he won, the loser(s) would provide the main course of lobster, fish
or steak to feed the winnersTony supplied everything elsethis
was an arrangement no one disputed since they would be invited to the
losers dinner anyway. If he lost, Tony would prepare dinner and
supply drinksbut Tony never lost.
Late one Monday afternoon I arrived from St. Thomas, checked into the
hotel, threw the goats out of my room, put away my bag, closed the door
to keep the local wildlife out and went to the small bar in the open
dining room. Typical of the island, nothing is locked. There are no
doors or windows on the restaurant and customers are often left to serve
themselves when Tony retired earlyan arrangement made possible
by honest guests.
Dinner had just been served. No menu was the secret to punctual dinner
hours and a pre-football dart game was underway. I sat alone at the
bar and read the remaining two pages of the eight page weekly newspaper
I picked up in St. Thomas on Friday. My least favorite, the Sports page,
was the last I quickly read and then only to impress anyone watching
that I had some interest in sports. I downed the last of my warm Bass
Ale, which I found just as exciting, folded the paper, and became interested
in a dart game when Tony stopped, after finishing his dinner, to say
hello and with an invitation to watch Monday Night Football with the
usual sporting crowd. Everyone in the room was placing betsRedskins
or Green Bay. Green Bay was favored and attention was on Tony as he
predicted a Redskins victory. I followed Tony and bet on the Redskins.
Everyone in the room, who had been watching Monday night football with
Tony for several weeks, detailed his good fortune at winning all bets
but now all agreed he would loseRedskins were not favored.
The game ended with the Redskins winning by a field goal and the narrow
margin Tony predicted. Again all were amazed. Lively post-game discussions
of Tonys uncanny forecasting followed with lots of head shaking.
Pressed to reveal his method of predictions, Tony shrugged his shoulders
declaring it was nothing but good fortune. The defeated promised to
return the following day with an entrée for the next losers
dinner. I returned to the bar but in passing I handed the paper to Tony
with a wink; the sports page open to the previous Monday night football
game, "Redskins Over Green Bay With Last Minute Field Goal."
© Richard Corwin 2002
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