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Satisfied Williams moving on


HAYDN GILL

Satisfied Williams moving on

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ALSTON WILLIAMS is celebrating his 50th and final year as a sports administrator.

Throughout his half-century of serving sport in varying capacities, he has gained satisfaction and recognition for his efforts.

Disappointments have also been par for the course.

Williams, 70, has held key positions in cricket and football dating back to 1964 and as he prepares to step aside, he does so with a sense of contentment.

“I feel satisfied,” he told the SUNDAY SUN. “I’ve helped a lot of people. I feel I should move on. Somebody has to take up the mantle. I can’t go on for ever and ever. It is the end of Alston Williams’ sports life.”

“Looking back at it, I can say that I’ve enjoyed it. It was tiring but I enjoyed it.”

His most prominent position in sports administration was that of president of the Barbados Cricket League (BCL) during the early 1990s, but his involvement in sport started long before.

When he was only 20, he founded the Boarded Hall Cricket Club in 1964. It was formed shortly after he left Foundation School. Back then, he was at the forefront of organising village games among those from Boarded Hall, St David’s and Lodge Road and he was encouraged to get a club going to allow the guys the opportunity to play in BCL competitions.

“The first year was not a nice year. We collected one point. We were beaten by all the teams but we moved from strength to strength. At one time, we had so many players that we had to have an A and a B team,” Williams said.

In the late 1970s, Williams also turned his attention to football, organising a team to compete in the Christ Church Football League of which he became assistant general secretary in 1997.

Three years later, he formed the Christ Church Village Football League shortly before becoming general secretary of the Christ Church League. To this day, he still holds the position and was well known for organising the Chefette Independence tournament for 21 consecutive years.

One of Williams’ disappointments has been the inactivity of the Christ Church Football League for the past five years. It was due in part to the unavailability of the ground next to the airport and, when it was regraded, a slope did not meet with the approval of the players.

Board member

Williams, a National Sports Council board member from 2008 to 2010, also served on the council of the Barbados Football Association (BFA) for 15 years under presidents Lisle Austin, Archie Batson and George LasCaris and was a member of the Barbados Football Referees Association for 21 years.

In recognition of his contribution throughout the years, Williams was presented with a community award from the National Sports Council in 1994, an appreciation award from the BFA in 2001, the same year in which he was given a service award from the Barbados Football Referees Association, and in 2010 he received another award from the BFA for his outstanding contribution as an administrator.

“I can show my grandchildren that my hard labour has paid off. My only problem is that I have spent over 30 years with the BCL and have never received even a fountain pen or pencil from the BCL,” Williams said.

“I don’t know if they have something against me. I was president. I changed the status quo at the BCL in 1990 when I ran against Owen Estwick. He was never challenged in 20 years until I did it. I feel it was one of my milestones. I made a bold step to challenge Mr Estwick when no one had even thought about it. It was a great step in my life and a great achievement.”

In his time as BCL president, Williams tried to raise the standard by getting the support of sponsors for an incentive programme.

Around that time, however, the BCL’s First Division team was performing disappointingly and he left the organisation on bitter terms.

“It is one of the things to hurt me that I was never recognised for my hard work. I had to look after lunch, carry guys from Christ Church to St John. My tenure at the BCL was hard work but in return [I got] nothing.”

As Williams prepares to call it a day, he is also disappointed that not enough young sports administrators are emerging.

He will remain available to offer advice, however.

“Any club that needs help, I can still give advice but I am bowing out after this year. It was not easy. I had a hard life. When I went to school at Foundation, I had to ride a bicycle every day to get to school. When I started to teach at St Christopher, I had to ride a bicycle for another 45 years before I got a car. It wasn’t easy,” Williams said.

“I enjoyed my time in sports. I started at a very young age. I have no regrets. At 70 years, I feel I should move on. I don’t think I can go on much further. I will do light work like gardening, which I do at home. I will still do some debt collecting. I have a small business to keep myself active.”

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