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Recognising longevity and contribution with meaning

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The decision of the Breakaway Masters Football organisation to extend recognition to durable footballer Rudolph “Micey” Sutherland must be given the highest commendation.{{more}}

The effort and foresight of the organisation’s Executive must be fostered, but comes at a time when there is an absence of any local avenue through which it can be ensured that such honours are ingrained activities of national sporting associations.

The few we get, though, no matter how sporadic, should pave the way for the long overdue hallowed national Hall of Fame for our sports people.

Sutherland’s longevity, especially in the sport of Football, should serve notice that one can enjoy a sport within one’s physical limitations even at a mature age.

At 76, Sutherland still possesses the will to take to the field occasionally, and is making a positive contribution to his organisation.

A few years ago, Sutherland created a local sporting record when in a competitive match of the Sion Hill Football League he was on the field for an over-35 team, opposing two of his sons and one of his grandsons.

With the folding up of the Over 35’s Masters Football team, Sutherland joined up with Breakaway Masters, an off shoot of his former unit.

His current teammates readily agree that Rudolph is always the first player to put on his gear and he has become a role model, a mascot, and the symbol of Breakaway Masters football team.

But his journey through to this point of recognition started as many youngsters would have, through his socialization practices as a child growing up in capital Kingstown.

At the age of 11, Sutherland, who was still a school boy, appeared competitively for Falcons Football Club that was based on Back Street in Kingstown.

By the early 1960’s, he was selected as a member of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Senior Football team.

Influenced by his teammates, the Jones brothers, (Babs and Zupang), Sutherland went to Trinidad and Tobago to show off his wares. By then, he was a Caribbean man, journeying to Dominica and other Islands in the region playing football.

In a tactical move, he a joined the famed Notre Dame Football Club, which is still revered as the best-ever club that competed in the national championship.

Persons are of the belief that Notre Dame was way ahead of its time and played the brand of football played by Brazil and now Barcelona.

Sutherland, who was a versatile player, served as a midfielder and striker, and was part of the 1965 St. Vincent and the Grenadines national team which boasted seven players from Notre Dame.

Sutherland was also a top sprinter in his heyday. According to his contemporaries, Sutherland was a youth who was full of life and loved to play practical jokes on others, which often got him into trouble, so he developed amazing getaway speed which helped to improve his football and nurture his athleticism.

Sutherland has some claim to fame on the track, as he was known to have beaten Bernard “Bunny” Baptiste, who is believed to be this country’s fastest ever athlete over the 100 yards, as it was then.

Local sporting history has recorded Sutherland triumphing over Baptiste in a 60 yards dash.

Sutherland’s blood line also may have accounted for his prowess on the track, as he is the son of a local former track star, James Webb, who many would come to know for his inventive “school boy mauby”.

This column joins the Breakaway Masters in recognizing Sutherland’s longevity in sports, especially Football.

It is this sort of foresight which serves as encouragement for those who have contributed to the sporting landscape of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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