By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
JUST like that, Christmas has come and gone. In a few days we will also bid farewell to the year 2017 and usher in 2018.
As we prepare for the unexpected, I would like to make some bold predictions just to prick your curiosity.
With the professional baseball players coming together to stage their inaugural “Don’t Blink - Home Run Derby In Paradise” on Saturday, January 6 in Montagu Bay, they will entice a major international sponsor that will assist the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to complete the new baseball stadium.
The stadium has been sitting at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre on its foundation because the Free National Movement government has been able to secure the necessary funding to complete the construction of the stadium that was started by the Progressive Liberal Party when they were in office.
During the ‘Catch Me If You Can‘ St Valentine’s Regatta, Eleazor ‘the Sailing Barber’ Johnson will organise a challenge cup in Montagu Bay for all of the boats that decided not to participate in the Best-of-the-Best Regatta.
They will all line up to compete in a special A class race with the Aliv PM Thunderbird to determine if the boat is legitimately faster than the boats that have been sailing in the various regattas while the Aliv PM Thunderbird sat dormant.
The March Madness will be one of the best ever as the annual Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic for senior high school basketball teams will finally see a team from New Providence or Grand Bahama earning their bid to play in the championship game.
One of the Family Island teams will rise to the occasion and bring some parity to the tournament, which has for the past 30-plus years of its existence been dominated by the New Providence-Grand Bahama showdown.
In a tribute to the late Dr Bernard ‘BJ’ Nottage, the Easter holiday weekend will showcase the resurgence in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ programme as the Bahamas will finally dethrone powerhouse Jamaica as the champions of the Carifta Games.
The other countries will act as spoilers as they will help the Bahamas in achieving the unbelievable feat by beating the Jamaicans in some of the events that they tend to dominate traditionally in the top junior meet in the region.
The Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association will be in the spotlight as it takes its men’s team to the Davis Cup tie in Costa Rica for the American Zone III competition.
The team will once again be led by team captain Marvin Rolle and comprising of the Spencer and Baker Newman and Kevin and Philip Major Jr.
One noted figure on the sidelines will be Mark Knowles, the country’s top professional tennis player, who will help to inspire the team to get back into zone II with another remarkable performance.
The National Basketball Association’s 2017 Draft will be held on Thursday, June 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and senior Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn and freshman DeAndre Ayton will be entered in the field.
When it’s all said and done, one will be picked up in the first round and the other in the second as they get set to join Grand Bahamian Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield, who is now in his second season in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings.
When the Central American and Caribbean Games are held in Barranquilla, Colombia, the Bahamas Olympic Committee will field its largest team ever assembled with a couple more team sports joining the men’s softball team.
When it’s over and done, there will be a number of teams qualified for the Pan American Games set for 2019 in Lima, Peru.
The Bahamas Basketball Federation would have completed its rounds of the Americas Qualifiers and despite getting off to a 0-2 start in the first two games last month, the men’s national basketball team would have turned things around. More of the international players would have made themselves available to compete and the Bahamas would have gone on to accomplish its goal of getting closer to the World Cup in 2019 in China.
The Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools and the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association will hold a joint press conference to announce that from here on in, the two bodies will operate on the same sporting schedule for the sake of the camaraderie of sports.
At the end of each discipline, they will hold a championship to determine the true champion in New Providence before they go on to compete in the various national championships against teams from Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.
The Bahamas Softball Federation will get a full slate of islands to compete in the National Softball Championships, making it one of the biggest held in recent years.
The federation will see the need to allow the island associations to assemble all-star teams where there are no active competitions so that the sport can remain some of the luster it lost with very few teams participating this year.
When the Star Sailors League returns for the finals of their Olympic-style sailing competition in Montagu Bay, Bahamian sailors will be featured in a prominent way, similar to what they did in honouring Sir Durward ‘Sea Wolf’ Knowles this year on his 100th birthday as the oldest Olympic gold medallist.
The organisers will allow sailors like Gavin McKinney and Mark Holowesko to compete in an exhibition race with some of the SSL sailors to provide the Bahamian public with the opportunity to see the local competitors matched up live in and in person against the international stars.
As a result of the accomplishments during the course of the year, a major gala awards presentation will be held to commemorate the performances of our athletes, coaches and officials. It will take the form of a red carpet ESPY style celebration.
A number of international celebrities will come to town to help celebrate our accomplishments. Those are just some of my wishful thoughts for a Happy New Year.