My friend came to visit the other day to proudly announce that his Second Form son had started sports at his school. He was unhappy however about the overweight shot putt sphere his son was asked to use. It was just too large for his grasp.
The story immediately reminded me that this was the term which Queens College of my day reserved for games. Though located in Brickdam, where the Ministry of Health is now sited, our Thomas Lands playing field was overtaken with white-clad players engaged in as many as three Inter-house cricket matches at the same time.
Then there would be time for football, hockey and in between table tennis - at all of which the College was represented in national competitions. Later in the year, room had to be made for the School Athletic Championships. Heats were run off at Thomas Lands, so that winners could qualify to run various finals on the then famous GCC ground, Bourda - home of regional and test cricket.
Queens produced an impressive number of all-rounders in those days. with several playing at the national level. Incidentally there were swimming and rifle shooting as well. But it was at Bourda we won kudos in international level athletic and cycle sports in which Venezuela was regularly represented, along with the rest of the Caribbean, the UK and the U.S.A.
A mile was then regarded as ‘long distance'. What‘s interesting however was that, in addition to the shot-putt, throwing the cricket ball was a regular part of the programme. Perhaps my friend’s son would be more comfortable with this size of sphere.
Incidentally, one reason for the multi-talented group shown in the picture below was that they were not burdened with extra lessons. The basic system was good enough.
Those seen above became professionals as follows:
- Baird -Physician in the USA.
- Chin - Paediatrician.
- Bacchus - Champion athlete who died young.
- Mongul - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
- Gonsalves - Businessman.
- Glasford - Technical Director, Bookers Sugar Estates; later Director, Bookers London Office, U .K.
- Pilgrim - Guyana's Ambassador to UK, Cuba.
- Bishop - Chancellor of the Judiciary; Professor of Law, UG: represented British Guiana (’50) at cricket and football.
- Gibbons - English Professor, New York University; Author: represented BG at cricket.
- Lee - Surgeon: represented BG at hockey.
- Jackman - Attorney-at-Law: represented BG at cricket.
- Moore - Qualified Auditor: represented 86 at Football, Table Tennis, Hockey.
- Richmond - Master: Captained team
These were the days when nutrition was essentially of local food and drink.