Jamaican umpire Verdayne Smith has urged members of the President’s Associates Cricket Club to seriously contemplate their future in the game as it offers attractive and lucrative careers which were unheard of in the recent past.
He made the remarks at an end-of-the-year dinner where he was a special guest at the St Mary’s Village, Moruga club, after officiating in the Regional Four-Day match between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba last weekend.
Smith, a physical education teacher who was born in Mandeville, but now lives in Old Harbour, said as a youngster we wanted to captain the West Indies team when he grew up.
But his plans did not quite work out, but not because of a lack of trying though, and he is quite contented he turned out to become one of the leading regional umpires who recently completed his bucket list of officiating in every West Indies cricket playing territory.
He told the President’s Associates that they too should aim high and shoot for the stars.
“If you don’t make it on the field, there are lots of other opportunities on and off the field in the game of cricket to make a living and have fun doing it,” he said to the large turnout of youngsters who comprise the club.
Smith pointed to umpiring, coaching, scoring, physiotherapy, fitness training, video analysis among the very specialised fields which the sport demands and which can provide a handsome standard of living for those who take their craft seriously.
The mild-mannered umpire, who has mentored literally thousands of youngsters in his homeland, praised the President’s Associates club members for the interest they have shown in the club.
He was also effusive in praise of the large number of females, who play an active role in the club and highlighted for them what cricket holds while advising that they must also strike a balance between their education and pursuance of the sport.
Smith warned them against being lured by the many distractions that are prevalent in today’s society and which have ensnared their peers. He urged them to be focused and remain dedicated and committed to becoming the best they can be and make their parents, friends, community, and country proud.
Also present for the dinner were chairman of the South East Zone of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, Kelvin Mohammed, president of the TT Umpires and Scorers’ Association Parasram Singh, and Smith’s fellow leading regional umpire Zahid Bassarath, a resident of St Mary’s Village who stood with the Jamaican in the regional match.
Azim Bassarath, who was instrumental in helping the villagers form the President’s Associates, said he was immensely proud of the effort being made by the club members who attend their meetings faithfully and contribute to their events in a whole-hearted manner.
He pointed to the dinner which he said did not cost the club a cent as it was underwritten by donations from its members, who also personally prepared the lavish Chinese-style meal which was served a la carte at the end of the formal part of the function.
Special gift presentations were made by the wife of president Bassarath on behalf of the club to its secretary Ashley Ramsamooj, and Samantha Bassarath for their commitment and dedicated service over the past year.