chapter  11
23 Pages

“And They’re Off”: Sport and the Maintenance of Community in St. Croix

When Hurricane Hugo, packing 190 mph winds, slammed into the United States Virgin Island of St. Croix on September 17-18, 1989, it left the small Caribbean island community devastated. Of its 49,000 inhabitants, approximately 45,000 were left homeless. Seven people were killed. Over $1 billion in damage was sustained. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) called Hugo “the worst disaster ever to hit the United States or one of its territories” (St. Croix Avis 1989a: 1). One month later, at 5:04 pm on Tuesday, October 17, 1989, an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck the San Francisco Bay area. This included San Francisco's Candlestick Park and its 62,000 fans awaiting the start of Game 3 of the World Series between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants. It was the largest quake since the 8.3 reading in the 1906 disaster. Hundreds of people were killed in the 1989 quake and over a billion dollars in damage was reported. More recently, Hurricane Andrew savagely attacked the Miami, Florida area on August 24,1992. Its wind gusts of 150 mph were just as destructive, injuring hundreds of people and causing billions of dollars of damage.