Nostalgia 560 – No trick – No gain….even in Squash
The Statute of Limitations having expired – this is a ‘True Confession’ story re the early years of Caribbean Squash.
In the event of litigation – I have Josephine Whitehead – top Guyanese Attorney as Defence Council in Georgetown…Ya think it easy!
Sept 1981 – The Guyana Squash Team travels to B’dos for the 3rd Carasra Squash Championship, with Louis Naraine Manager. Godfrey Chin as Asst Referee /Adjudicator to the Tournament is tasked to ‘assign points to the various matches – to determine final over-all winner.
I had every confidence that Guyana’s Gary Chin ( defending under 19 Champion) would retain his title, which he won in the 1979 Games in Jamaica. That was the Games where our 19 year old Richard Lee, was runner-up to Orville Haslam in the Men’s Final in a near startling upset to match the USA’s ‘Miracle on Ice’ win over Russia, in the Winter Games – Lake Placid, NY 1980
I expected and banked that Indi Wellingkar, Mahdu’s daughter would win the newly instituted Girls under 19 title – and also that our Ladies Captain and Southern Caribbean Champion, Josephine Whitehead would win the Ladies open
With my judicious ‘assignment of points – Guyana could clinch the overall Championship,
The Results – Our under nineteens - Indi & Gary won their Titles – the latter the first Guyanese to win a Caribbean Squash title (1979) for Guyana – returned home to be runner-up Sportsman of the year to Clive Lloyd 1981.
Josephine ‘played her heart out, but just couldn’t hold the Jamaican No1 Pearla Manapol, who had an irritrievable ‘egg shell drop’ – seemingly catching the ball on her racquet and placing it gently into the nick. Guyana was 3rd place at these Games, and they did not win the Over-All Team title until 1989, in Barbados.
Our Juniors first Over All Team win the Caribbean Juniors Games was 1986 in Jamaica, and Guyana has earned this title at least 17 occasions since. Richard Chin was our first Junior Caribbean Champion –under 14 at the first Junior Games 1981 in St Vincent. Wayne Burrowes of Jamaica was also phenomenal – winning both the under 16 and under 19 categories, in a magnificent display at the first Junior Tournament.. I mention the foregoing purely as ‘nylon’ re the early years of Caribbean Squash, and Guyana’s achievments then.
Josephine redeemed herself winning the North/South Championship – the next year 1982 and I recouped my previous betting loss. Ya think it easy!
The Guyana Junior Team is the defending Champions at the Digicel 2011 Caribbean Junior Squash Championship upcoming this week from July 8th to the 14th at the Georgetown Club and the new Racquet Club, Non Pariel Club. Boys and Girls team are coming from Bahamas – Barbados – Cayman Is – Jamaica – T’dad – Bermuda – & OECS.
Guyana has won this Tournament the last six successive years since 2005. Cayman Islands are the defending Boy’s team while the Guyanese Girl’s team are the defending Girls. Deje Dias is the Captain of the Guyana Team defending the Title.
More Nylon.. The players after each match would return the ‘used ball’ to the adjudicator’s desk, and they were placed in a box below. These were the years of the Banlon years in Guyana, when ‘Squash Balls locally were as scarce as hen’s teeth.
At the end of the first week – Tournament Adjucator advised me ‘Godfrey, someone is stealing the used squash balls – and I am assigning you to keep them safe.’ Man this was akin to asking Al Capone to guard ‘Fort Knox.’
That evening Bud Lee came to my adjoining room – after hearing me counting 84 –85 –86 – thinking I was doing ‘sit-ups’. Hell I was counting the ‘booty squash balls – placing them in socks – to bring back home.
Okay – we didn’t bring home the Trophy but we had a three month’s supply of Squash balls locally. A little soap and water – Squash Balls for sale $2.00..and vulcanizing available to patch when required. Nothing ventured – Nothing gained…Ya think it easy!
In 1981, I laid claim to a Guiness Record to be the only Squash Plasyer in the World – never to buy a squash ball during his career. They repudiated my claim, and asked for proof. How do you prove ‘non purchase’?. Life is a beach.
This was worse than my father warning, after a near drowning experience in the flooded South Road Trench . ” Not to go back into the water, until I learn to swim. Or even worse, than when I applied for employment in NY 1982 – and was advised I needed to have work experience in the City – before I could be employed. Always wondered ‘if old mauby is an essential to brew a new batch’ – how was the first batch made. Ya think it easy
My response to Guiness went as follows. ‘As Coach to the Juniors from 1977 – no charge – each child was required to bring a new Squash Ball for each coaching session. Every Sat 30 odd students, and the Coach goes home with 29 balls. Carl Ince – Current Coach, get smart!
Man, I never even bought Shuttlecocks when I also played Badminton. Thank heavens, Bud Lee always brought a box of shuttlecocks when we played at Cosmos Club. First warm up – Godfrey mishits – the dam feathers break – and Bud leggos a ‘locust’ True to God story! ….Ya think it easy
…….Godfrey Chin… June 2011.