Dean Squires has been using basketball to discipline and change the lives of young people across the island. (Picture by Sandy Pitt.)
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From his secondary school days he was considered a troublemaker even though, by all reports, he was a top performer at primary school.
In fact, Dean Squires, Barbados’ sole known full-time basketball sports evangelist, volunteer basketball coach and mentor, is quick to admit that he was no “sweet bread” during his early schooldays. Yes, he was an academic, head boy, and top student at St John Primary school when he graduated in 1986, but he also had to fight his demons.
Today, he is in a much better place and has been able to use basketball to change the lives of many young people across the island.
It was back in September of 1986, that he found it so hard to transition to secondary school when he entered Queen’s College that he determined in his heart to “just give trouble”.
“It was a rude awakening for me at Queen’s College when I discovered that I was no longer the biggest and strongest student, as was the case at primary school. Rather, I was now one of the youngest students on the block,” Squires said.
Faced with this reality, he felt the only way he could make his presence felt and overcome peer pressure was to put on aggressive front.
In fourth and fifth form Squires became aware of his advantage in sports and more so basketball. Although Queen’s College did not have basketball facilities, he was recruited as a basketball player.
“I was now about 15 years old and realised that I had wasted some of my teenaged years. As a member of the basketball team I was introduced to structure and discipline. I began to have a measure of success, which saw me moving on to become a member of the combined schools basketball team, and later, the Boys’ Junior National programme.
“Through this experience I saw a change in my behaviour and mindset. I also knew that my heart was still evil, but the discipline helped me to manage my behaviour,” Squires pointed out.
He became so focused on using basketball to chart his way forward and to help young lives that when he graduated from Queen’s College in 1993, Squires offered to take up the role of “volunteer coach,” just so the school would continue to have a basketball team. (CH)
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