Lloyd ‘Blades’ Wallace – Essequibo’s most accomplished Curator

first_imgBy Elroy StephneyDESPITE not having any formal training in the art of preparing cricket pitches, Lloyd Wallace became Essequibo’s most enduring and successful curator spanning over a decade.Formerly from Hampton Court on the Essequibo Coast, he lived just a few yards from the famous Kayman Sankar cricket ground. The venue then provided the opportunity for him to expose his talent as an employee of the firm where he spent over 15 years.In an exclusive interview with Chronicle Sport, the strongly built yet affable Lloyd Wallace was happy to reminisce on his sojourn as one of the best in the Caribbean as he put it. “I was rated by former International Umpire Billy Doctrove from Dominica as being one of the best in the Region”..“In my time, I was privileged to have prepared quality pitches for Red Stripe, Shell Shield and Inter-county matches and received quite favourable commendations from the players,” he added.“The Kayman Sankar ground became my home because I loved my task and it was done through consistently hard work, sacrifice and dedication towards a sport that I loved dearly,” emphasised the 51-year-old veteran who is one of ten brothers, five of whom represented Essequibo at the Inter-county level, namely Trenton Peters, Orin Wallace, Aubrey Wallace, Derick Wallace and Clifford Wallace.In fact, Lloyd Wallace also represented Essequibo in softball at the inter-county stage and was among the finest behind the stumps locally. “I was nick-named Blades because I was so sharp behind the wicket,” he acknowledged with some degree of satisfaction.Back on the pitch, ‘Blades’ was a monumental figure at the ground where he would studiously and repetitively arrange his equipment to undergo a rigorous job that required intense concentration and attention.There was never a dull moment witnessing him in action and he was an expert at his trade that he mastered without tutoring.“I was never exposed to training. My instinct, on-the-job experience and constant exposure to mud, water, roller, paint and brush were all that I needed to understand my role as a groundsman,” he responded.He shared the following memory with a real sense of pride. “I remember preparing the pitch for the likes of Brian Lara, Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner, Richie Richardson, Phil Simmons, Ian Bishop, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Clayton Lambert among others and I felt honoured to be doing so for my heroes,” he boasted.“I recalled Trinidad and Tobago defeating Guyana in a Red Stripe match in the late 1990s when the great Brian Lara was Man-of-the-Match, scoring 67 runs. I was also proud of the Essequibo Under-16 team winning against Demerara in the Neville Sarjoo tournament.”“These are memories that I will forever etch in my heart as I played a role in providing an environment in which all were satisfied and much to the delight of the fans as well.”Upon reflection, the popular ‘Blades’ would single out Rovendra Mandolall, Jermain Jones, Dinesh Joseph, Ray Reid and Delvin Austin among others whose talent he witnessed right at the ground as being promising cricketers while his brother Trenton Peters, Jaimini Singh, Orin Belfield and Mark Stephney were good during his time.He has since expressed gratitude to the Kayman Sankar Group of Companies for their tremendous support as well as Kayman and Beni Sankar who were pioneers of the game in Essequibo.Wallace who is married and has four children, now resides in La Belle Alliance. He has since become an entrepreneur and security officer, but was quick to reveal that he is willing to share his experience with the Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB) and local clubs, even as he noted that the standard of preparing pitches now is very poor since much more education and guidance is needed for the art to develop and succeed.While the Hampton Court ground no longer exists and the towering figure of ‘Blades’ does not perform duties, he will be remembered as Essequibo’s most celebrated curator.last_img read more

Over-protective parents spoil kids’ fun on playground

first_imgDon’t worry, Mom and Dad. I made sure to put on a helmet and shin pads before I typed up this column.I mean, typing on a computer is about as dangerous as a pillow fight against a stuffed animal, but you just can’t take any chances today.And have no fear, Grandma Betsy. When I go home tomorrow, I’ll be sure to crawl up the stairs. You know how dangerous those elevators can be. I’ve seen ’em in movies.Oh, and don’t complain about me not calling every once in a while. Calling on my cell phone? Do the words “malignant tumor in my brain” mean a wink to you? It’s much safer to communicate this way.Any of that stuff sound ridiculous? Of course it does. But none of that is nearly as preposterous as this doozy of a story coming out of Attleboro, Mass., about 40 miles south of Boston.School administrators — probably reacting to an absurd lawsuit or two — have officially suspended all life-threatening activity such as touch football, tag and walking.Well, maybe not that last one, but it’s currently under advisement at Willett Elementary School in Attleboro.No tag? No touch football? What, are these kids made of glass? I would hate to be a kid at a school with no contact, no competition, no fun. Just because one or two lousy parents whines about their kid being touched — touched, of all things! — by Snot-nose Charlie or Muddy-hands Marge during a harmless playground game.The school, in its formal ruling, banned “any other unsupervised chase game during recess,” afraid that kids could be hurt without anybody watching, which would leave the school or district liable for any such occurrence.According to Willett Elementary School principal Gaylene Heppe, recess time is “when accidents can happen.” Hey, I know exactly what she’s talking about. This one time, at recess, a girl ran up to me and just tapped — tapped! — me on the back. She must have thought I was playing tag, and when she realized I wasn’t in the game, she said, “cootie-brain!” and ran away. This accident was certainly a horrible event that has scarred me for life.It’s not too late to nominate Ms. Heppe as a presidential candidate for 2008, is it? Clearly, this is a lady who’s got her head in the right place!However, I probably shouldn’t single out Heppe for her thoughts; as a matter of fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if those words were placed directly into her mouth by the aforementioned snotty parents who think their kid would drop dead if he or she ate a bug.Some schools around Attleboro reportedly tried to get rid of dodgeball some years back, calling the game “exclusionary and dangerous.”Oh, come on! In the immortal words of Patches O’Houlihan: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” (Hey parents, calm down. I’m not actually suggesting the kids start flinging metal tools at one another. It was a joke, now clean up that Starbucks latte you just spilled all over the floor of your minivan).Here’s the thing: While I agree that maybe dodgeball or other games in elementary and middle school aren’t the safest of activities, there’s certainly a lot worse one can do. Bicycles aren’t safe; kids still ride those, right? How about skateboards? Those haven’t been outlawed? When kids play video games, things can get a little edgy: competition heats up, a controller or two goes flying across the room as somebody kicks the Xbox. What if someone pokes out an eye?Fact is, there isn’t much in life that doesn’t have a little danger that goes along with it. Every time you ride in a car, fly on an airplane, eat your food, go to sleep — you can never be perfectly safe. I can’t buy the belief that if kids at Willett Elementary School are shooting baskets, playing four-square, pushing each other on the swings or eating sand, they’re in any less danger than they would be by running around.Kids still play organized football, don’t they? And sure, they get hurt. But they recover, and usually learn a little something from being hurt. They get hurt playing youth sports, they get hurt playing tag — what difference does it make whether anybody’s watching or not?The problem, of course, lies with these parents who think they’ll be around their kids their entire lives. 24/7 surveillance, making sure that if their kid does get hurt, they can be the first ones on the scene. They seem to think if their child’s knee gets scraped, someone had better be there to help him or her within thirty seconds or their lives are at stake.These parents enjoy playing the “What if?” game. What if Johnny gets hurt? What if Johnny is scarred for life because he’s picked last for the football team? What if he gets hit in the face and never wants to play with his friends again? What if my Johnny has no friends? Oh, good heavens, what if my little Johnny, my baby, gets hurt?Uh, Mom, what if you let your kid grow up like a normal human being? Let kids be kids, and put down the phone; your lawyer’s tired of hearing from you.Celeste D’Elia, a Willett parent, said, “I’ve witnessed enough near collisions,” adding that “her son” feels safer because of the rule.Correction, Celeste: You feel safer. And your son misses out on being a kid. Shameful.Aaron is a sophomore who is headed to the Purdue game this weekend. Anybody who’s got any fun ideas for things to do in West Lafayette can contact him at abrenner@badgerherald.com.last_img read more