At the festival formerly known as Caribana last weekend, one of the marquee events was the second annual Carribbean Carnival Cup, a rugby match between Jamaica’s national rugby-league team, the Reggae Warriors, and Canada’s own Wolverines. The teams have faced off twice before, trading victories, with Canada winning last year’s Carnival Cup 40 to 10.
There was more than national pride on the line—international games count towards rugby-league world-cup standings—even if most of the crowd seem to be there less out of fan fervour and more to as a way to pass the afternoon.
By halftime, the score was 10 to two for Canada: exactly what husband and wife Patrick and Christine Jebbison, who both have Jamaican roots, were hoping for.
When asked which team they were ultimately cheering for, the couple answered in unison, “Canada.”
“But we want to see Jamaica do well,” added Patrick, though he admitted he didn’t know they had a national team.
Antoinette Ellis and her friends shared the opposite allegiance. All six claimed West Indian heritage, including some born in Jamaica.
“I was born here,” explained Ellis, whose parents were born in Trinidad. “But we were raised with that West Indian flavour. I would cheer for Trinidad because I relate to what my parents taught me—It doesn’t mean I don’t cheer for Canada. It’s just, that’s our roots.”
The final score was closer than it’s ever been between the two clubs: 18-12, for Canada.
CORRECTION, JULY 26, 2012: When this article was first published, the photos were attributed to the wrong photographer—in fact, they were taken by Christopher Luna.