by HAYDN GILL
YOU MUST ADMIRE the Caribbean Lumber Company YMPC success story.
Theirs is one that is a wonderful example of team building.
It might have taken a while, but it was worth it.
They are the deserving winners of the 2006 Banks Barbados Cricket Association Division 1 title, but this success wasn't an overnight wonder.
It was a culmination of years of effort not only exertions on the field of play, but the effort of virtually rebuilding the club.
Back in 1998, when there was mass exodus of YMPC's leading players for reasons that are well-known, many had written off the Beckles Road side.
In the space of eight years, not only have they turned the corner, but they have scaled heights some believed they couldn't get to.
In the face of testing times, Wendell Coppin became YMPC's chief cook and bottle-washer.
He was club president, coach and captain, rebuilding YMPC by seeking out new, promising talent and rekindling the type of spirit and togetherness the club was known for.
Coppin was appointed YMPC captain in 2001, elected as club president in 2002, and relinquished the captaincy in 2003 when he was satisfied the younger brigade was ready to take over the mantle.
While many will point in his direction for YMPC's revival, Coppin remains modest about the part he played in the U-turn.
"People obviously call Wendell Coppin's name, but it has to be receptive to the people who were there as well," he told MIDWEEKSPORT.
"You are giving of your time and your services, but if you have a group of people who do not believe in what your philosophies are and who don't believe in your ideologies, then you are in a losing battle."
He was able to command the respect of the players, getting them to bond in a manner that is the hallmark of champion teams.
He was also able to rekindle the family-like element that characterises YMPC.
"The players were very receptive. They wanted more and more," Coppin said.
"The days I've not been able to get to the club, they've called and asked why. They've come home at me. They've sort of set up camp at me at some point in time.
"We've built a family. It's built on generations of YMPC teams. The success was about a team-building effort moreso than individual superstars."
YMPC's success is all the more an achievement based on the background that the title was won without the physical presence for most of the season of their two West Indies players, Dwayne Smith and Fidel Edwards.
Whenever they were around, they made an impact on the field and their influence extended beyond the boundary.
Smith, the appointed captain, made it his business to telephone several times on Sunday to monitor the progress on the last day of the final.
"We've been fortunate to have Dwayne Smith around for a couple of games and he has been inspirational as the leader of the club," Coppin said.
"He's been appointed club captain for the last couple of years to assist in his personal development but also because most of the players in the club look up to him. He is always there at practice. He is always encouraging."
YMPC were runaway winners of Zone "B" under a new format which featured a final for the first time this season.
They won five of their seven preliminary matches on the way to the final against Carib Carlton in which they won an absorbing duel for first innings before rain at tea on the final day curtailed the match when it was poised for a thrilling finish at the Windward Club ground.
"We realised that once the season was split into two ... the zone that we were in it was manageable," Coppin said.
"When we looked at the history of the teams that we played against, we noticed they were clubs that we do well against. We expected that we would win."
YMPC are now $20 000 richer for their efforts this season, money that is certainly needed to develop the club.
"You just have to go past Beckles Road and you can see that we are in need of the $20 000," Coppin said.
"We've had a sponsor who has stayed with us ... Caribbean Lumber and its managing director Rohit Sugrim.
"He has been with us for the last five years. He has stayed with us and thanks to him we've continued in our transition and building up to this."
YMPC will continue to bask in the glory of their Division 1 success, but their work for the season isn't finished.
Their sights are now on the double and that quest will continue on Sunday when they face Super Centre Spartan in a quarter-final match in the Sagicor General Super Cup.
"Even before the final started I said that we must not lose focus, that we are still in the knockout," Coppin said.
"We are taking one game at a time. We will hope that the celebrations don't go too far into the end of the week, so come Sunday we are switched on again for the next competition."