Lethal blow to sport­ing struc­ture

Jamaica Gleaner - - TUESDAY SPORTS -

EX­ACTLY A week ago, Ja­maica’s sport­ing struc­ture was struck a lethal blow to the most ten­der por­tion of its body its youth.

A Man­ning Cup en­counter played at the Na­tional Sta­dium East play­ing field be­tween Ex­cel­sior and St Ge­orge’s Col­lege ended mid­way when news fil­tered through that the Light Blues’ cap­tain, Do­minic James, had lost his life at the hos­pi­tal.

The 18-year-old, who pre­vi­ously rep­re­sented Ja­maica Col­lege, had been trans­ported there by his fa­ther, who, along with his wife, the boy’s mother, was watch­ing the game from the side­lines.

It was less than five min­utes into the game when the young­ster, in an off-the-ball mishap, fell to the ground and lay there with min­i­mal move­ment. That was scary to many who were look­ing on live or by tele­vi­sion.

What im­me­di­ately fol­lowed were fran­tic scenes from the first re­spon­ders as they ges­tic­u­lated to the pe­riph­ery for the sup­port that would have been re­quired in these cir­cum­stances.

With no stretcher or sim­i­lar de­vice in place, the now­mo­tion­less player had to be taken off cra­dled in the arms of sup­port per­son­nel, in­clud­ing his coach, Neville ‘Ber­tis’ Bell.

One can only imag­ine the thoughts ca­ress­ing the mind of this con­sum­mate lover and pro­tec­tor of youth who tra­di­tion­ally ex­tends his pa­ter­nal-like car­ing to team mem­ber and op­po­nent alike.

Later, when the news of James’ un­for­tu­nate pass­ing hit the gath­er­ing, the out­flow of emo­tion came in tor­rents. There was fall­ing to the ground by players on both sides; there were close em­braces; there were oceans of tears.

PRE­VI­OUS OC­CUR­RENCE

School­boy sport had suf­fered this type of tragedy be­fore. Who can for­get St Jago High School’s Cavahn McKen­zie, who passed away af­ter rep­re­sent­ing his school in a cross­coun­try run in Trinidad?

Then there was the 17-yearold, Rushane Ricketts, who suf­fered a sim­i­lar fate at the STETHS Cup com­pe­ti­tion just prior to ce­ment­ing the trans­fer from Tivoli Gar­dens High to Ja­maica Col­lege.

Ar­denne’s swim­mer, Matthew Hyl­ton, adds to the statis­tics of sim­i­lar sad and sorrowful in­ci­dents.

Foster’s Fair­play will not con­trib­ute to the al­ready vo­lu­mi­nous calls for an ad­e­quate med­i­cal pres­ence at sport­ing events. Suf­fice it to say that Par­ents De­nese and David James of the late St Ge­orge’s cap­tain Do­minic James at Fri­day’s foot­ball match be­tween St Ge­orge’s Col­lege and Greater Port­more High School at Winch­ester Park, St Ge­orge’s Col­lege.

with all the will in the world, the lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenge aligned to the scarcity of re­sources is over­pow­er­ing.

Another thought in this area is, how much will it pre­vent?

In ask­ing that, the re­sponse of “even one is too many” is recog­nised and re­spected.

The Gov­ern­ment has pre­scribed a probe into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the mourn­ful oc­cur­rence that robbed the na­tion of one of its bright­est tal­ents, blessed with, as high­lighted by coach Bell and oth­ers as­so­ci­ated with the lad, such an ad­mirable work ethic and dis­ci­pline.

The out­come of the an­nounced in­ves­ti­ga­tion will hope­fully, al­ter the protocol to be ob­served be­fore the ref­eree blows that start­ing whis­tle or the um­pire calls play.

On the other hand, given a cul­ture of nine-day won­der, it could be, sadly, busi­ness as usual.

Whether it is one or the other, there is a legacy that ought never to leave all those who were spec­ta­tors to the af­ter­math of this highly re­gret­table hap­pen­ing.

Foster’s Fair­play wishes to com­mend Do­minic’s par­ents, caught in the midst of un­speak­able grief, for their re­silience

and spon­ta­neous abil­ity to re­bound from the sce­nario that played out be­fore their eyes last Tues­day evening.

It was never go­ing to be an easy call. It would have taken a show of for­ti­tude in the face of a tragic loss and per­ma­nent sep­a­ra­tion in flesh from a loved one to come out in sup­port of his team­mates at their next game. That they did in the com­pany of the for­mer Min­is­ter of Youth and Cul­ture, Lisa Hanna.

The man­ner in which David and De­nese James cel­e­brated each and ev­ery one of the four goals reg­is­tered by their de­parted son’s team­mates spoke to a plethora of pos­i­tives.

Their pres­ence por­trayed a strength of char­ac­ter, a car­ing and coura­geous com­mit­ment to a cause in cri­sis and a re­sound­ing re­solve to be part of the re­vival of spirit, even with the real prospect of hav­ing to sum­mon a whole lot more when they come to the fi­nal trib­ute to their own boy and lay­ing him to eter­nal rest.

Well done, Mr and Mrs James. The na­tion can learn a les­son.

I

FILE

JAMES

RI­CARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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