Foster's Fairplay | Lethal blow to sporting structure
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 now-motionless 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.
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 cross-country run in Trinidad?
Then there was the 17-year-old, 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 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.
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