Another tribute to Coach Errol Bodie
Published: Sep 19, 2013
The following is a memorial tribute to track and field coach Errol Bodie, by the president of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations Mike Sands. Sands gave the tribute at the homegoing service for Bodie, which was held at the Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Let me at the outset state that I am pleased to be here in Grand Bahama, to attend this memorial service, and to have been asked, as president of the BAAA to bring remarks, and pay my homage to someone who has contributed for a long time, and who has impacted my athletic career.
In bringing this tribute, I am reminded of the words of the English Playwright William Shakespeare, who candidly reminds us of the fact, “Life for all of us can be characterized like that of an actor. We make our entrance, play our numerous roles, and then make our exit.”
I am not unmindful of the fact that each and every one of us here have some distinct memories, some good and some not so good or unpleasant when we reflect on the life and work of our departed friend and coach. I am mindful of the fact that many will speak on those memories, but as I speak on behalf of the BAAA, I will be brief and share with you all a short but personal story.
The story is told of a young Bahamian student, a high school student, studying at Sheephead Bay High School in Brooklyn, New York, in the early 1970’s, and having quite a successful track career.
“The school team went to a meet in Springfield Gardens when he was sought out and approached by a Bahamian coach, teaching in the United States of America, who had been following the student-athlete’s career. This was 40-plus years ago. I was that student, and Errol Bodie was the coach.
“We remained in contact, regularly and then reconnected when I returned to Nassau for the Olympic Trials, in 1976. The athlete made the national team, and the coach was named Head Coach of Team Bahamas, for the 1976 Olympic Games to be held in Montreal, Canada, that summer.
“While this is not the time nor place to recite the details for the events that shattered that good relationship, I am in a position to state that we did reconcile but never really returned to the “pre-event” relationship, but as Shakespeare stated, our roles changed, and as I became more involved with the BAAA, and ultimately became president, our contact invariably increased.
“Many individuals give their all for sports, and in the process attempt to help to build individuals, and by so doing, contribute to nation-building. Coach Errol Bodie was one among many such individuals and often, these individuals go about with little praise or recognition, but they are comforted by knowing that in their own way they are giving back and building a country. I close by thanking the Bodie family for sharing him with the sports fraternity.”
Family members of individuals deeply involved in sports at whatever level know how much a sacrifice it is and wonder sometimes why we stick with it with all of the fighting and infighting and back-biting and conniving treachery, and lack of cooperation. As we celebrate the life and contribution to sports of Coach Errol Bodie, let us use this opportunity to recommit our talents and energies to the advancement of our beloved sports.
We should all be guided by the principle that the sport is larger than all of us and I here repeat, ”the sport is larger than all of us.” No matter how clever and disagreeable we are, our challenge is to leave it in a better state, and to improve the lives of our nation’s youngsters.
We may not always agree, but we do not have to be disagreeable. I believe that this would be a great legacy to Errol’s life’s work.
May his soul rest in peace.