A birthday bash to remember

REV. Dr. William Thompson is flanked by players and officials of the Masters Softball League game beween the Divers and the Scorpions at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.

REV. Dr. William Thompson is flanked by players and officials of the Masters Softball League game beween the Divers and the Scorpions at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.


Senior Sports Reporter



REV. Dr. William Thompson poses with the Eva Hilton Rake-n-Scrape band after their performance on Saturday.

Saturday’s sports fun day at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex to help commemorate his 80th birthday turned out to be a little more than Rev Dr Thompson anticipated.

“This has been a tremendous blessing to me today. I truly thought when the team told me they were having this and they were going to invite all of the former athletes to come and have two competitive games going on, I had no idea this would have been so tremendous in terms of the support,” he said.

“It’s really been a blessing and a joyful day for me.”

Looking at the performances in the games, Rev. Dr. Thompson said he felt he may have stopped playing at such a younger age because he felt the urge to go out on the field and play again.

But Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg, who stood by his side in the VIP lounge, said he considered Rev. Dr. Thompson to be more of a spiritual father to him and he made sure and mentored and guided him when he started his political career.

“He was a gentleman who impacted many young people, whether it was through junkanoo or playing sports or through religion, so it’s no better way to celebrate 80 years of life here on earth,” Bowleg said.

“So whether he celebrates it through sports, an all-day fun day, with the junkanoo celebrations, everything they are doing to help him celebrate his 80th birthday is being done in the way he wanted to be done.”

Making a special appearance for the event was Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis. He noted that Rev. Dr. Thompson made a profound impact on his life and he just wanted to express his gratitude.

“He was my first baseball coach. I played for his junior league baseball team as the shortstop,” Davis said.

“He taught me how to hold the gloves and to throw the ball. Since then, he has been in my life and so I had to come and show my face.”

In one of the two games played, Da Boys nipped the Corner Boyz 19-18 as Sidney Thomas got the win on the mound over Vernon Clarke, who was tagged with the loss.

REV. Dr. William Thompson is flanked by players and officials of the Masters Softball League game between the Divers and the Scorpions at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.

REV. Dr. William Thompson poses with the Eva Hilton Rake-n-Scrape band after their performance on Saturday.

Marcellus Hall had a big day, going 4-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored, Dwayne Taylor was 3-for-4 with two RBI and four runs scored, Julian Pratt went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored and John Lockhart was 2-for-5 with a RBI and three runs scored.

Martin ‘Pork’ Burrows, who not only played but was one of the committee members, said it was good for them to pull off the win because they had some new players who filled in for some of the starters, who weren’t able to make it.

“This is our second game, we’re now 2-0, so it’s a good start for us,” Burrows said.

“We look good. We feel confident about the rest of the season.”

As for the birthday celebrations for Thompson, Burrows said it was good to get the win for him, considering the fact that he coached him and some of the other players with the Tom McDiggers baseball team.

In the loss, Andy Percentie went 4-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored, Godfrey Willie was 2-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored, Chuckie Wilkinson was 2-for-2 with three RBI and three runs scored, Vernon Clarke went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored and Leron Burrows was 3-for-4 with a RBI and three runs scored.

Marvin ‘Tougie’ Wood, coach of the Corner Boyz, admitted that they were flat.

“We could have played better than we did,” he stated. “We made some simple errors in the out- field, but we will be back.

Wood, however, commended the organising committee for showcasing the teams in the celebrations.

“It was a great event. Rev. Dr. Thompson had done a lot for sports and for Baptists in general,” he said. “It was excellent. Hopefully they can do something again next year.”

In the first game played, the Quality Home Center Divers outslugged the Scorpions as Don Dean got the win and Foster Dorsett was tagged with the loss.

Designated player and coach Robert Cox went 3-for-4 with five runs batted in (RBI) and three runs scored, Jayson Clarke was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, Pat Lockhart was 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored and Kervin Culmer and Todd Isaacs Sr were both 2-for-with two RBI apiece.

Isaacs also scored a run.

“We were a little sluggish because it was our first game for the season, but we eventually made a strong effort in the last couple of innings and we were able to pull it off,” Cox said.

Cox noted that they gladly accepted the invitation to play as they gave leaders like Rev. Dr. Thompson his “flowers while he’s alive.”

Cox said it’s always good to give the leaders their flowers while they are alive.

Dorsett, Brian Harvey and Greg Burrows all went 2-for-4 in a losing effort.

Dorsett added two RBI with two runs scored, while Harvey scored twice and Burrows drove in two RBI.

“We didn’t perform the way we should have and could have,” Dorsett said.

“We had one or two players missing, but that’s the game.

“We come to play, so we can’t blame no one else.

The guys tried. We had some fun.”

Dorsett said they were just happy to play for Rev. Dr. William Thompson, whom he called an icon in sports, junkanoo and religion.

The Eva Hilton Rake- n-Scrape band, which has been in formation for the past 11 years under the direction of physical education teacher/coach Zindora Munnings, kicked off the entertainment segment.

“It’s a privilege to be here to celebrate along with Rev. Dr. Thompson on his milestone,” Munnings said.

“Like he told us, he doesn’t feel 80, so it’s definitely a pleasure for our young people to experience the games and also to participate in these grand celebrations for him.”

James Hutchinson, the director of music at the Bahamas Correctional Institution, said they are happy to be able to honour Rev. Dr. Thompson, who serves as their chaplain.

“We wanted to show him some love, sorry it wasn’t long enough,” Hutchinson said. “But if he calls on us to do it again, we will do it again. He’s 80, but he looks like a 50-year-old man. So we’re happy to do this to honour him.”

The entertainment came to a close with a junkanoo rush-out by the Valley Boys, the group that Rev. Dr. Thompson is closely associated as a member.

One of his daughters, Bernadette Bastian, who organised the Sports Day, was more than over- whelmed by the turnout for her father.

“Overall, I think the event was a very good success and Rev. Thompson was very pleased with the celebrations here today,”

she pointed out. “This kicks off a week of celebrations and we have some good things to look forward to. So we couldn’t ask for a better start.”

Even the vendors were delighted to be a part of the event.

Antoinette Glinton, whose booth was the Batter Girls, said it went beyond their expectations.

“It started off very slow this morning, but by the afternoon, everything started to pick up and customers were just purchasing our stuff, so we had a good day,” she said.

“The atmosphere was good, the weather was good, the entertainment was good, so we had a good day.”

Zhane McPhee, who operated the Williams Wings & Fries, couldn’t agree more. “This was my first event and it was awe- some,” she summed up. “The turnout was tremendous. It was worthwhile and yes I would do it again if it happens again.”

The celebrations will climax with a big banquet to be held on Friday at the Atlantis resort. Tickets are priced at $250 per person.

And on his birthday on Sunday, February 18, there will be a grand celebration at Faith United Missionary Baptist Church where lunch will be served to everyone present.

“God has been good to him. He’s preached in every continent of the world, he has deserved in many capacities in this country, so we thought it would be nice to celebrate with him,” he said.

“We don’t know how God will keep him here, but since he’s celebrating his 80th birthday, we thought it was a good time to celebrate him.”


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