One of the greatest gifts which God has given to Man is the gift of memory and as we grow older, if we are wise, it is one which we truly learn to appreciate. There are some recollections which we would prefer to forget but again, if we are wise, we should have learned lessons from the experience. Others are, however, of a more pleasant nature and these we try to play over in our minds time and time again.
Recently I was watching a tape of the 1985 sports day of the Acme Sports Club and the memories came flooding back. Acme Manufacturing Co Ltd had two plants, the original one in Grazettes Industrial Estate and the new one in Cane Garden, St Thomas. With the exception of a few older hands at both facilities most of the workers were unknown to each other. To solve this problem it was decided in 1981 to hold a sports day to build the relationship between the two factories whilst at the same time, enjoy healthy rivalry and competition.
Five disciplines were contested – cricket, football, dominoes, table tennis and athletics. Realising that it would not be possible to cram all of them into one day, dominoes and table tennis were played in the lunchroom at St Thomas in the weeks leading up to the actual sports day, which was usually held on the Sunday closest to Independence Day. All of the activities were video-taped by our boss, Frank Butcher, and the presentation ceremony was held on the Thursday following the sports day and at the conclusion the video was replayed.
What made that particular sports day so special was that it was our third attempt that year at staging the outdoor element of the event which was being staged at the YMPC grounds in Beckles Road. The usual format was cricket followed by lunch, then athletics and football in the afternoon. On the first occasion St Thomas won the toss and batted but after their innings closed rain fell and put paid to the rest of the day’s proceedings. We then decided to try on the following Sunday but rain fell again for the entire day and washed out everything.
After two failed attempts our spirits were a bit low and we were wondering what our next move would be. The company’s financial year ended on 31st December and stock-taking was scheduled for the following week, but after discussions with Mr Butcher, he agreed that if the staff could finish taking stock by Thursday, he would allow the sports day to be held on Friday. Instead of turning up for work at the two factories, workers would report to YMPC.
Needless to say the stock take was duly completed and we reported for work on Friday at YMPC where the incomparable Llewellyn “CR” Taylor had prepared a superb pitch.
We had a most magnificent day but what caught my attention as I watched the video last week was that because of time constraints in order to accommodate the athletics and football afterwards the cricket matches on our sports day were limited to 20 overs per side. It must be noted that our sports day first began in 1981 and continued until 1992, each one including a T20 cricket match.
It just makes me wonder if someone, somewhere, saw our version of the game, marvelled at the exuberance and enjoyment exhibited by our teams and decided that a great financial opportunity beckoned. And just maybe, as the saying goes, “the rest is history”.
We will never know if the above really happened or remains in the realm of conjecture but the incontestable fact is that the management and members of the Acme Sports Club thoroughly enjoyed their annual sports day each and every year.