In the month of April, the Elder Sherwood Simms Basketball Tournament at Zion Baptist Cathedral began to wind down, but not before players in the church league met with key stakeholders in the Abaco community.
Ten teams were represented in the tournament.
Basketball Church League President – Everette Strachan – introduced Supt. Noel Curry, officer in charge of the Abaco district, to the players. Supt. Curry told the young men that he was never given the opportunity to play in a church league, but when he played basketball, he played barefooted on the tar.
“It’s good to see this this evening, and it does all of us good because it’s a good chance for us to fellowship as young men, and it’s a good time for us to talk to you,” Supt. Curry said. With 1,600 young people at Her Majesty’s Prison, he encouraged them to stay out of trouble emphasizing that the basketball tournament was a good means of steering them in the right direction.
Supt. Curry requested that the boys make a pledge to honour their parents, pastors, teachers and elders. He congratulated them for their participation in the tournament, and asked that they exhibit good camaraderie and sportsmanship in their games.
Returning the microphone to Strachan, the league president began to share how he had lost his father and daughter within a six-week span, and how the death of his child had heightened his drive and determination to impact the youth of our nation as best he can.
Cubell Davis Jr. was called on as the next speaker. He told the boys to watch the type of company they keep, and to always be respectful.
“As young people who want a future, and when I watch you guys play, I can see some future in y’all. I can some of y’all playing in big colleges, and in the NBA, but you have to set that goal,” Davis Jr. advised. “You have to set it now; you cannot be detoured by [anything], and most [importantly], you have to get a good education.”
Ishmael “Stretch” Morley of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture was the final speaker.
He told them to do the right things today for tomorrow. Morley had the privilege of attending a military high school, and then Hampton University. As a basketball player, Morley traveled all over the Caribbean.
Like Davis Jr., Morley also encouraged them to obtain a good education, so that they can receive academic and athletic scholarships to attend college. He reminded them to dress appropriately, and the importance of maintaining a good reputation and working toward what they hope to achieve.
Although the rainy weather interrupted their game that night, on April 27, games resumed. After an energetic battle on the court at Zion Baptist Cathedral, the names of the winning teams were announced.
Change Ministries Int’l Basketball Team won the A class, and the Victory Tabernacle Church Basketball Team won the B Class. Terrance Davis received the Most Valuable Player (MVP) title for Change Ministries, while MVP recognition was given to Victory Tabernacle’s Bradley Altidor.