By 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.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Merriam-Webster has two definitions for “meme,” both being nouns. One is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture,” while the other is “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.”The latter definition surely applies to Hillsman’s practices, but the former does, too, because both Grant and redshirt junior guard Isis Young said they follow Hillsman on social media. They see his posts and are more motivated than amused because the messages of Hillsman’s memes are familiar. They’re the same lessons he preaches during practice.“You just see (the memes) and you reinforce,” Young said. “Like, ‘OK coach likes toughness.’ But we know that.” The content of these meme-lessons isn’t on a calculated schedule. It’s “random,” Hillsman said. Still, there are people who don’t even believe he’s tech-savvy enough to do any of this himself.“They’re sleeping on my abilities here, right?” he joked last week.But the people who do believe are the ones who matter the most. They’re the ones who run his plays and follow his rules. They’re the ones who came to Syracuse to play for @CoachQatSU. Comments Recruiting hatched Hillsman’s web presence. If the kids were using it, he figured he ought to as well. From there, it grew into a convenient way to stay in touch with players who have graduated and moved on.“He knows what this generation is all about and he’s a part of it,” junior guard Abby Grant said.Retweeting — essentially the reposting of another account’s original content — is not what sets Hillsman apart from the the likes of Boeheim and Babers. Rather, Hillsman also posts photos of himself and players captioned with large block lettering of an inspirational phrase.They often end up on his Instagram account as well. In a sense, they’re memes. Published on November 14, 2017 at 10:02 pm Contact: email@example.com | @jtbloss Jim Boeheim hasn’t sent out a tweet in the month of November. Neither has Dino Babers, aside from an obligatory Veterans’ Day post with a graphic made by the SU football social media team. As popular as these coaches are — the billboards and TV commercials will show you they are quite popular in central New York — they are not Quentin Hillsman.Hillsman, or “Coach Q” as his Syracuse (1-0) women’s basketball players call him, is instead a man of memes. He inundates the Twittersphere, sharing loads of news from SU Athletics and producing original material of his own. Just as you’ll rarely spot him on the sideline wearing something as standard as Boeheim’s usual blue coat-grey pants combo, you’ll seldom see a day go by where he isn’t active on Twitter.“This new age, you guys don’t talk on the phone anymore,” Hillsman said. “You have to tweet and text and Instagram and all this.”He’s right. Nearly a quarter of teens admit to going online “almost constantly,” according to a 2015 report released by the Pew Research Center. A whopping 92 percent of teens hop online at least once a day, the report said, adding that this mania of internet usage is possible because nearly three-quarters of teens own or have access to smartphones. In a world where those phones are becoming increasingly multidimensional, Hillsman is using his to connect with his players of the past, present and future.