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Pine’s unity game

Justin Marville

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Almost two years after his passing, Kirk Patrick is still leading another of Pinelands’ great comebacks.
At least ten of the club’s legendary basketballers, including Cosmo Edwards and Carl Thorpe, are set to take their talents back to the court against the current Pinelands team as the highlight of tonight’s Getstone Services Andrew Thorpe/Kirk Patrick Memorial at the Princess Royal Court.
Serving as the featured act of a two-game event, the inaugural exhibition is just the latest in a long series of efforts by the Pinelands Youth Soccer Academy and the basketball club to reinvigorate the much-maligned community through sports.
“Kirk Patrick was more than just a basketballer, he had become one of our community leaders [so] we want to use his cause to bridge the gap in the community,” said community development officer for the area, Colin Harewood.
“It will take time [though] but we’re seeing progress [and] over the last two years you can see the transformation and the gap is closing because of the community development work.
“But it’s not going to happen overnight and this game won’t bring the community together [by itself] but the Pine is basically on the rebound,” he added.
Speaking at a Press launch for the two-game exhibition series earlier this week, Pinelands coach Renaldo Maughn said the event was the best way to honour the contributions of both Patrick and Andrew Thorpe to the community’s sporting landscape.
But like Harewood, Maughn reasoned the event goes far past the memory of the late national players as the Pine’s reputation had taken a public beating over the years for the perceived violence in the area.
“A lot of people still feel there is serious animosity going on between upper Pine and lower Pine but we want people to know that is not the case,” Maughn explained.
“Sports in the Pine have never brought animosity, it brings togetherness, and we want everyone to know that this is a positive vibe right now in the community to get the youngsters and the old people out together.”
A prolific scorer and equally talented playmaker, Patrick had long been regarded as one of the country’s best players at both guard positions for just over a decade.
But he appeared on just one senior national team – the 2009 tour to Tortola.
The entire Pinelands and basketball communities were sent into shock on August 13, 2010 after Patrick was fatally shot just outside his home.
Thorpe died in 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Tonight’s event will also have two select sides featuring national players Jeremy “Bull” Gill, Kelvin “Browne” Patterson, Corey “Big Head” McDonald, Jefferson Trotman, Corey Williams, Zahir Motara and Junior Moore in an exhibition contest starting at 7, ahead of the featured Pinelands game.