We probably all have our personal examples of individuals who we admire. Whether it be leaders, priests, teachers, coaches or a neighbour, they all leave a mark on us. These certain individuals are role models for many of us during their and our lives. With some of them, for as long as we can remember, these people were always “around” us. And with some of these role models, we truly believe they are immortal. These legends will never die. For many people, Brian Lara or Sir VS Naipaul were such an inspiration. For others, it was the likes of Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi, or political leaders like Patrick Manning or Barack Obama.
And when these famous icons depart from this life, we read about them in the press or in books, we see videos on social media, watch special TV-items about their lives and achievements, view all the YouTube videos available and use their quotes endlessly to inspire others. For me, I take this opportunity today to mention of former TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who sadly passed away on December 8, 2019 at age 71. After writing this column, myself and the rest of the football family had to face the untimely death of national forward Shahdon Winchester.
Like Tim Kee, Winchester was a very warm and social human being. Tim Kee’s humility, kindness, respect, passion and invaluable insight will remain part of his legacy. He was not afraid to take decisions and made bold steps to try and revive the fortunes of our football after we had entered a dim period following the success of the 2006 World Cup qualification.
For Winchester, his persistence to make it to the top was admirable. His hattrick against Haiti in 2017 I will never forget and I’m sure Warren Archibald and the rest of the T&T 1973 Squad would be proud of that performance in Couva.
From 2007 to 2012, we struggled to reciprocate any kind of success and our football became embroiled in controversy. What followed between 2012-2015, and I challenge anyone to object to this, was undoubtedly a solid period for our football on the international stage, clearly much better than what we witnessed post 2015 to present. Qualifying for the Gold Cup in 2013 and making it to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2000, achieving this feat again in 2015, reaching two consecutive Caribbean Cup finals, our women’s team winning the Caribbean Championship and reaching to within a point of World Cup qualification, our Under-20 men’s team winning the Caribbean championship and qualifying for the CONCACAF championship and our Under-17 men getting to within a victory of World Cup qualification in 2013. The crowds were returning to the stadiums.
Was it all smooth sailing? Certainly not, but it was a period where we were catching ourselves again. The then-TTFA boss believed in those around him and was confident enough to pass on responsibilities without micromanaging. I recall during the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Panama, I had checked into the team hotel with the T&T under-17s and we were staying at the same location of the Canadian team. A gentleman by the name of Stephen Hart was also in camp with the Canadians. Tim Kee found this out as by that time, Hart’s name was already popping up among candidates for the T&T coaching job. I had one simple task and that was to approach Hart and set up a meeting with Tim Kee at the hotel he was staying a few minutes away. The rest of that story is history.
You get grades or marks for English, Social Studies, Science and Math and receive medals, trophies and accolades for success in sport, but often little is mentioned of one’s character. I often wonder what this means for our children, especially when research confirms the correlation between character and success.
We are unified only in our cynicism, as it seems that there are fewer people and institutions our children can look up to and count on to consistently do the right thing. Role models play a critical part in character development. If children have fewer strong role models, are we reducing the chances of raising a generation who will do the right thing when others aren’t looking? We can never have too many role models such as Tim Kee, Manning, Mother Teresa, Lara, Ato Boldon or the teacher who spotted your ability to entertain an audience in comedy or song rather than speak a different language. I read where inspiration pulls you towards something that stirs your heart, mind, or spirit. We are inspired by a person, an event, or a circumstance.
Here’s to meeting, knowing and working with more individuals with this kind of ability in 2020.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian