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Steve Bucknor, a living legend
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Legendary cricket umpire Steve Bucknor, who last weekend ended his 20-year sojourn on the international cricket circuit is now back home in Montego Bay and, from all indications, he seems all set and ready to move into another phase of a life that has so far been well spent.
To say that Bucknor has made an indelible mark in sports, especially in cricket, would be an understatement. If properly conceptualised, his long list of phenomenal accomplishments on the world stage has placed him head and shoulders above his peers, easily making him Montego Bay's most illustrious son.
Achievements such as being the first man to umpire in 100 test matches, the first and only umpire to officiate in five consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup finals, the first black umpire to do duties in post apartheid South Africa are all larger-than-life accomplishments, which will no doubt remain etched in the pages of history forever.
While Bucknor has been accorded several national and international awards as he meticulously built his awesome reputation as one of the finest, if not the finest, cricket umpire of all time, from a local perspective, I still believe more should be done to immortalise what has been a climb from humble beginnings to undisputed greatness.
As I have stated in previous columns, I believe the unfinished Catherine Hall Stadium, in Montego Bay, should be named the Steve Bucknor Stadium as a tribute to Bucknor and his enviable success. If his accomplishments are measured against some of the people we frequently shower with accolades, especially our politicians, it would be a clear case of 'no comparison'.
Unlike the situation in Trelawny, where there seems to be some reluctance about naming the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium the Usain Bolt Stadium on the grounds that the US$30-million facility is a cricket stadium and Bolt is a track athlete, that scenario could not be advanced in regard to Bucknor and the Catherine Hall Stadium.
While it is in cricket that Bucknor has made his biggest mark, there is not a single event that could be staged at Catherine Hall Stadium that he has not excelled in. As a youngster, he represented Jamaica in football and later on in life, he was a FIFA referee. In addition, he was an exceptional track & field athlete for both Cornwall College and St James.
special heroes' park
Personally, I would like to see a special heroes' park created somewhere here in Montego Bay so that our sporting heroes and other person, who have made the western city proud, can be appropriately honoured. Heroes such Mr Bucknor, Paul 'Tegat' Davis, Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore and our other stars from the 1998 World Cup in France, should have monuments erected in their honour.
While I know that the St James Cricket Board, the St James Football Association, the Western Track & Field Association and the Cornwall College Sports Depart-ment are all jockeying to solicit Bucknor's services, I am also hoping that the guidance counselling departments in the various schools across the city will seek to utilise him as an inspirational speaker because he has so much that is positive to share.
At a time when good role models are so hard to find, it would be an absolute disgrace if our schools did not grab the opportunity to use a man like Bucknor, who is living testament of what can be achieved through hard work, discipline, commitment, dignity and ambition.
Much as I am going to miss the stacks of newspapers and samples of foreign money for my paper note collection that I generally get from Bucknor after each of his many trips to faraway places, I want to wish him all the best in his retirement. In biblical reference, I would like to join in the many tributes to him by saying, "well done thou good and faithful servant".
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