Tue | Mar 31, 2020

Freestyle footballer kicks off Invasion - RJRGLEANER Cross Country tour lights up Parade

Published:Saturday | February 1, 2020 | 12:16 AMDanae Hyman/Gleaner Writer
Horace Herbies displays his juggling skills during yesterday’s launch of the RJRGLEANER Cross Country Invasion at St William Grant Park, downtown Kingston.
Horace Herbies displays his juggling skills during yesterday’s launch of the RJRGLEANER Cross Country Invasion at St William Grant Park, downtown Kingston.

Twenty-one-year-old Horace Herbies kicked excitement into the St William Grant Park in downtown yesterday as he juggled, flipped and did stunts with his football at the launch of the 16th staging of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group’s Cross Country Invasion.

Practising freestyle football since age 14, Herbies says he now makes a decent living from travelling across the island to showcase his skills at various events, including children’s treats, and doing commercials for companies.

“When I go in the public and freestyle, people will sponsor me, and it’s a sport that everybody loves because once they see me freestyling, they start clapping and laughing and things like that, so those things motivate me to push and do more,” the 21-year-old athlete said.

Freestyle football is a sport where athletes use all part of their bodies to perform tricks with the football.

He shared that his love for football was first sparked when he saw a master juggler at work. Herbies said that he then spent day and night on YouTube watching famous freestylers, honing his craft until body and ball were in synchrony. Soon, what began as mere hobby was transformed into a career.

However, Herbies stated that even though he could possibly earn more from a semi-professional contract if he pursued a full career in football, he would never give up his freestyling passion.

Fight for calendars

In the meantime, 42-year-old Dona Pellington, a regular at the Cross Country Invasion, said despite being tugged and pushed to the floor on more than one occasion in her quest to collect her favourite radio station’s calendar, she has been showing up religiously to kick off of the roadshow since its inception, and doubts she will ever stop.

Pellington, who has been working with Tax Adminstration Jamaica for 27 years, told The Gleaner that she is an Invasion veteran, coming out every year since 2004 for giveaways and to meet her favourite media personalities before turning up to work at 8:30 a.m.

The loyal RJRGLEANER fan’s smile melted into a frown, however, having missed out on getting one of the keepsake calendars on offer despite being at the Parade park from 6 a.m.

“Last year, them push me down on something and is the lady just hold on to a calendar and give me because she see the stress I was going through,” she said.

The Invasion will see the RJRGLEANER group touring various towns and cities over the next few weeks embarking on various charity-based visits and entertainment events.

danae.hyman@gleanerjm.com