|Many unsung heroes crafted BAAA legacy|
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive
Published: May 21, 2012
The mounting enthusiasm, within the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) as that organization gets set for its special 60th anniversary ceremony on Sunday, May 27 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, has been linked thus far to key personnel who played special roles in the development process over the last 60 years.
Singled out in a prominent way have been the founding members and past presidents. They certainly deserve to be put in the spotlight in order for the historical connection with thousands of later generation Bahamians to be made. Cyril Richardson, A.F. Adderley, Harold Munnings, Levi Gibson, Sir Orville Turnquest and those of that early ilk ought to be revered for getting started one of the great institutions in Bahamian history, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations, formerly known as the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association.
Let’s not forget though those stars of track and field who created the excitement that caused scores upon scores of mostly natives, and some tourists to flock Clifford Park for the tight competitions of the 1950s and early 1960s. Leonard ‘Skeeter’ Dames, Cyril ‘Peepsight’ Johnson, Ambrose ‘Cabbage’ Hanna, Tex Lunn, Leroy ‘Uncle Lee’ Archer, Jean Vanderpool, Fred Higgs, Bob Isaacs, Enoch Backford, Cyril Paul, Charlie Moss, Irrington Isaacs and Winston ‘Tappy’ Davis are some of the legendary early performers who helped immensely to grow the track and field program in the country.
The great one, Tommy Robinson, remembers Lunn, Dames, Johnson, Paul, Davis and the Isaacs brothers being the prime sprinters before he came into his own.
“Man, the action was great. Those fellows captivated the audience and you looked forward to the meet days at Clifford Park. It was a special era. I came in just after them and was proud to have been able to overlap and link competitively with them,” said Robinson as he reminisced recently on the happenings within the BAAA over the last 60 years.
“A lot has gone on. While we must honor those who kept the program together, we ought never function so that the ones who were the core ingredients in the process, are left out. There is the danger of that because some of those great athletes were low key. They just had the deep desire to compete and didn’t ask for much else. However, we should not forget them,” said Robinson.
Indeed, in some form, with the local media forum so diversified, the major role players who jump started the BAAA should definitely be remembered. Perhaps at the May 27 event at the national stadium, a roll call of the early performers along with the administrators would be in order. It seems a grand occasion is in the making.
Harrison Petty, one of the constant support arms of the BAAA, and public relations officer Alpheus Finlayson are driving the marketing for the May 27 ceremony.
“We expect an event that will ensure that those who got it started will be saluted. We are proud of what has happened in the BAAA over the 60 years and want to do justice to the milestone,” said Petty.
Other than his work with the organization of BAAA events, Petty also anchors the scholarship program that continues to provide a good academic option for athletes. Best wishes to Petty and the rest of the BAAA organizers on the upcoming affair!
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.