This Ain’t Your Neighborhood Dominoes

This Ain’t Your Neighborhood Dominoes

Georgetown, Guyana – February 22, 2013

Last night was the long-awaited Embassy domino tournament. One of my maintenance crew colleagues had approached me with the idea a couple of months ago. He told me the last time there was a tournament the Facility Management crew won. He worked with the Community Liaison Officer (CLO) and the Foreign Service National Association Group (FSNAG) to pull the tournament together.

The trophies in waiting. The taller trophy is the Ambassador’s Cup.
Warming up with table tennis.
Keeping his eye on the ball.
Waiting for the domino games to begin.
More warming up at table tennis.
A shot with vigor.

The night happened to be the eve of Mashramani. That is a Guyanese festival celebrating the country’s Independence. It comes from an Amerindian word that means “job well-done.” We did not get to see the exotic costumes because Leslie was not feeling well. Maybe next year.

A Mashramani participant, the son of one of my colleagues.

There were four teams of nine players each going into the night. However, due to some last-minute maneuvering and deal-making, there ended up being three teams of six players each. The groups represented Facility Management, General Services Office, and Management.
Far be it from me to truly understand the intricacies of dominoes. After all, when I played dominoes as a child, it was to imitate the hallway and doors from the opening of the television show, Get Smart. When I tired of that game, I would stack the dominoes on end in curving lines only to watch them fall one-by-one after pushing the first one. So I am not an expert in the game.Dominoes come in sets of 28. Here in the Caribbean, they play with three players in each game. Each player draws seven dominoes which leaves seven out of play.
Players hold the dominoes in their hands, five in one and two in the other to start. The player holding the double six begins the game. If no one has it, then they use the double five and so on. Play continues until one player plays their last tile and shouts domino! If the last tiles are not playable, then the player with the lowest total of spots in their hand is the winner.
To the uninitiated, this may sound rather boring. That means the uninitiated has not watched the game in the Caribbean. Here, the players slam nearly every tile played onto the table with such force one fears the dots will come off or the tile will crack in two. The slamming is not complete without some yelling and boasting. It is effortless to get caught up in the frenzied excitement.

A Caribbean domino slam.
A Caribbean domino slam on table 3.
Making the next play.

As the games last night continued to the final round, the Facility Management team and the General Services Office team found themselves tied. In an exciting climax, the finish was 54-52 in favor of the Facility Management team. As the team captain, the team presented the trophy to me. The inscription read “Embassy of the United States of America CLO & FSNAG Ambassador’s Inter-Department Dominoes Tournament 2013 Winner”. The Facility Management team was very proud.
Maybe next time I will play. Then again, perhaps I will just set up a “Get Smart” hallway again.
On the way home from the tournament, Leslie and I stopped at the Grand Coastal Hotel to have dinner. After dinner, we went home and relaxed.

Son and father.
One of the domino players.
Another domino player waiting for the next game.
The next game begins.
Making a play on the end.
Shuffling the dominoes for the next game.
Picking just the right dominoes.
Holding the dominoes, coming up with the strategy.
Preparing to play the next domino.
Table 2.
The players really love their game.
Maybe a difference of opinion…
Talking off to the side of all of the commotion.
Another game beginning.
Shuffling for the next game.
Part of the cheering group.
The flag at dusk.
Taking a break during the tournament.
Nearing the end of the tournament.
Yelling some encouragement.
Some of the spectators.
Playing on the double six.
Nearing the end of the very last game.
After six rounds, the final score shows FM won by two points.
Our hosts for the evening.
Preparing to present the Ambassador’s Cup.
The winning FM team receiving the Ambassador’s Cup.
Proudly holding the cup.
Even though I did nothing more than take photographs, the FM team wanted me to pose with them and the cup.
A relaxing dinner at the Grand Coastal Hotel before going home.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.