WEDNESDAY WOMAN: Kim’s queen of the road
KIM HOLDER is queen of the road in more ways than one.
Holder is the undisputed queen of road tennis in Barbados and this was underscored recently when she won the women’s title by defeating Rachel Smith in the finals of the Monarchs Of The Court tournament.
But little known to the Barbadian public is that she is also a queen of the road as one of the few female bus drivers at the Barbados Transport Board.
The MIDWEEK NATION travelled with Holder on her route to Sam Lord’s Castle and she skilfully made her way along the winding roads. Some of the passengers were so impressed with her handling of the huge Marco Polo that they told her “Thank you, driver” or “Good job” as they got off at their destinations.
Holder – who has been unbeaten in road tennis for the last ten years – noted that it had not always been her plan to become a bus driver but she was elated nonetheless when she found out she was accepted.
“I just like to see women in general handling big vehicles. Actually, when I was young, I was with my dad on our way home and we saw this guy driving the bus and he came around this bend braking all the time and I told my father, ‘But, daddy, I could drive that bus better than he’. At the time I did not have licence or nothing so and look at me now. I am driving bus today,” said Holder, laughing.
The jovial 39-year-old thanked her boyfriend Ian Cox for encouraging her to follow her heart.
“He said, ‘Kim, if you want to do this do it.’ He is my coach, my manager, my everything. Everything that is going on in my life he encouraged me; he never told me that I couldn’t get it do, he never discouraged me from doing anything. He would just say ‘Kim, just go.’ Now everything just fall into place and just happening,” said Holder.
The St George resident noted that she was always into sports. Holder grew up in the very sports-oriented neighbourhood of Superlative, St George, and played a variety of sports as a little girl, including road tennis.
“It’s a fun-loving neighbourhood and everybody used to bond together and have fun. Me and the other girls in the neighbourhood were always very active; we were all really into all sports. We used to play road tennis but at the time we were using the normal lawn tennis ball with the fur on and use two pieces of wood, draw a square and was just playing. We used to play just for fun. Eventually as we got older we branched off into other sports. Some went to netball and I went to volleyball and we stopped playing road tennis,” said Holder.
Yes, volleyball. Before she became the road tennis queen she is today, Holder was spiking the ball on the volleyball court. She started playing for Progressive in 1997 and made the national team that very same year. It was only after the birth of her daughter in 1999 that she stopped playing volleyball and made a return to road tennis.
The former student of the St Jude’s Primary and the St George Secondary says that a lot has changed in road tennis but there is still some improvement that needs to happen for the women.
“The women still getting put in the background and the men getting push all the time and we women ain’t getting any push. In my opinion, we need to at least try to get more young girls getting involved in the sport because it is getting bigger and eventually there will be a national team so you have to get the young girls into the sport.
“There are some teenage boys and you can see that road tennis is in good hands with them but you don’t have any young girls coming that are that dedicated like they are. So you need to at least get somebody to go into the schools and try to get the girls to come out. I figure that some of the girls may feel it is a boy sport and they may feel discouraged because the majority of men believe that if you are playing in a male- dominated sport you are a lesbian and they stay away,” said Holder.
Holder wants to see more girls playing the sport and she is already pushing her daughter Kyanna in that direction. Kyanna is a fifteen-year-old student at the Grantley Adams Memorial School and already has plans of being a road tennis champion one day. They won the Touch Of Class championship in the doubles as a mother-daughter pair.
“She is really good, but I would love to see the standard of women’s road tennis lifted. I keep telling the ladies you can only be a champion for a period of time. Somebody is going to come along and they are going to beat me. That is how sport is played. Rachel [Smith] is hungry but I told her that she will be champion when it is time for her to be a champion,” said Holder.
But until that time comes along when someone beats her, Holder plans to do what she does best, and that is winning titles.