Let's start Sports Hall of Fame with what we already have and know
February 18, 2002
I am extremely appreciative of the time and attention given in your editorial, "Sports' Records," (SN, Feb. 15) to my suggestion that the time has come for Guyana to get its own National Sports Hall of Fame. But it was your own observations about the shortage or absence of relevant sports records that could be used in determining who makes the cut for the Sports Hall of Fame that struck me as another extremely sad commentary on the state of affairs of our contemporary history.
The absence of verifiable historic documentation on our sporting history, perhaps with the exception of cricket and, to a lesser extent, football, may be a mirror of a general societal nomadic behaviour, in which we spend time doing things some place, only to pick up and move on without any documentation what we did there. Others coming after us have no records or writings to which they can refer in order to learn what we did. It then becomes a word of mouth thing.
Whether the national sporting bodies are in possession of records or photographs, or the surviving relatives of past national sports personalities can make a valuable input towards the setting up of Sports Hall of Fame, is yet to be seen, but I do believe we can make a start somewhere by using whatever documentation we have.
For example, since cricket seems to be the only discipline that has readily available records, particularly on the international level, let us determine whether Rohan Khanai, Clive Lloyd, Alvin Kallicharran, or Lance Gibbs merit induction. Should Kallicharran's South Africa goof be held against him, even though he has repented and been rehabilitated?
But what about boxing? Boxing also has candidates in the persons of Beckles, Blackmore, Ford, and Bristol, to name a few, who have done Guyana well on the international level, thereby allowing ready access to existing records. In cycling, we have Hunte, Medford, D'Ornellas, Rose, Gordon, and Joseph, to name a few, who performed admirably on the international level, but what records/photographs does the Guyana Cycling Federation have on these and others?
Did we ever have a regional (Caribbean) champion in any non-team off-track sporting event, like table or lawn tennis, badminton, or archery? Or, apart from cricket, did we ever have a regional championship team from Guyana?
Should there only be a handful of inductees, using verifiable records as a criteria, then for those who do not make the cut using the same verifiable records criteria, can we settle for 'notable mentions', in which the same effect of social cohesiveness and inspiring our children to strive for excellence is aimed for? This should in no way diminish the impact of their performance, nor should it diminish the true value of actual inductees and the institution they will come to represent.
A final point to be made relates to the selection process: No candidate for induction should be currently involved in the same sports discipline in which their candidacy for induction will be used for consideration.