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JEFF BROOMES: Lessons from the BCL

Jeff Broomes

JEFF BROOMES: Lessons from the BCL

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I HAVE lived a life with a focus that when things are going badly, the best approach is to get back to basics and address the concerns from the foundation. 

    Get the fundamentals right, and things have a strange way of falling into place in a most positive way.

Two of my interests, cricket and education, are entities that bind us as Caribbean people. Today, both education and cricket are going through their struggles.

In cricket, we say when in doubt, push out; in education we say you get to the unknown by having a clear understanding of the known and working from there.  As we chart a course for the future we must work through the prevailing thunderstorms with resolve to withstand devastating head winds.

Today I examine the lessons given to us by cricket’s great base, the Barbados Cricket League (BCL).  

One may legitimately query what is so significant about the BCL to our life and why its established principles are necessary today.

It is the foundation of cricket in Barbados and, based on its outstanding legacy of productivity and success, one can easily call it the underpinning of post-war West Indian cricket. What other organisation possessed the developmental structures that gave us Sir Everton, Sir Garry, Sir Conrad, Seymour Nurse, Desmond Haynes, Charlie Griffith, Sylvester Clarke and the plethora of others?

At all levels, different entities boastfully claim each of these outstanding individuals as theirs.  But let us be very clear: They may have gone on to play for country and region, and may also have joined different clubs here and overseas.  They, however, were intrinsically developed by the BCL.

My plain and simple plea is to reconnect to the purpose and function of the League that brought such outstanding success, and focus less on the ego-stimulating words and jubilant cheers, less on the records and the individual praise. Be pleased with them, but not be defined by them.   

The lesson of our BCL model where  I played for a few years and served on the executive committee, was that we were a community-based organisation that saw neighbourhood bonding and collaboration as primary to everything we did. Let us never forget this.

Let us  understand and appreciate the fact that two or three good players may come from our club but the impact made  on our community must speak louder.

Every village can tell a story of those who played in this league.  As a northerner I remember the exploits of Rocka Boyce, Haggie and Dove Phillips from St Lucy, the Dottin boys from Black Bess, Sammy Vaughan from Carlton, Dog Foot Atherly and fast bowler Ricky Skeete from St Andrew and the Sandifords, Luther King and Lad Prescod from Holders Hill.  As a player, I remember Reds Carter from Springfield, Gas Clarke and Jolla Barrow from Penrod, Earl Mottley and Colin Payne from Millbrook, Arleigh Brathwaite from Belfield and a plethora of others inclusive of Leroy Leach and Tantune Greaves.  They were good; they were real, real good!

Their ability to bat, field, bowl and the other cricketing skills were minor to the values and principles that must define the representatives of our homes, our organisations and our country.  Skills and abilities will take the player forward; values and good character will promote not only the player, but neighbours, administrators and our homeland.

    We do not have to be national or international players in order to contribute to a comfortable and productive society. While still massaging our egos with the exquisite cover drive, the unplayable outswinger, the off-break that rips through bat and pad, the “five for” or the never-will-forget century, we can exemplify decency and dedication to higher values of service to community and country. 

Balance them and life will be unmatched.

Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice-president of the BCA and director of the WICB.  Email: [email protected]