He has never been on the frontline of sports development. It was always his character to work from behind the scene to inspire, and indeed, to fortify sports development in his country.
I refer to a man in his mid 70s who has been a pillar of support for national sports in general, but track and field in particular, for more than six decades.
Doyle Burrows, the no-nonsense sports advocate, is not one of those, featured at ceremonies for national, regional or international sporting events. Others have crafted much higher profiles. Few though, have been more of a meaningful contributor to the Bahamas Sports Brand than Burrows.
He was among a circle of friends in a post-New Year backyard affair in Grand Bahama recently, and part of an extremely pleasant and nostalgic interaction. As we engaged in banter, national issues and history, I had memory flashes about the man Doyle Burrows, a legend in his own right in sports, with special emphasis on the preparation of competition venues.
My memory of Burrows goes way back.
I was one of those little fellows who loved to be at the Eastern Parade in the summer evenings when a group of athletes, mostly from the Valley, came to practice. I recall, (Doyle) Burrows, Perry Christie, Cleso Munnings, Percy “Smokey” Christie, Winston Cooper, D’Yanza “Oops” Burrows and Hartley Saunders, as regulars at the Eastern Parade during those evening workouts. (Doyle) Burrows was the verbose one. It seemed Smokey was the target of Burrows’ teasing words and antics, most often.
They all, though, provided a refreshing interlude for the young observers.
My first personal interactions with (Doyle) Burrows would come as delegation members of national teams, that represented the country around the world from the late 1960s and forward. We bonded in a really special way when we attended the now defunct Norman Manley Games in Kingston, Jamaica, during the 1970s and connected with medical intern Dr. Phillip Thompson.
I came to understand that with Burrows, underneath the loquaciousness and garrulous attitude, was great warmth, care for fellow human beings and the insurmountable passion to prep sporting venues.
Pertaining to the latter, there was a role of huge significance that Burrows would fill for years and it became a trademark.
When he got the job to manage the maintenance sector of the old Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, it brought his desire for specialized contribution, full circle. Burrows very much became the face of that track and field venue.
He seemed to have a perpetual presence. At just about any time of the day, one could see Burrows, attending personally to the different areas of competition. He’d be on the track; at the inside field events stations; or the outer perimeter of the stadium. I saw him day on the outside of the wall on the Big Pond side. He was looking intently for sections that needed fortification.
During events, there was Burrows, even a greater presence, available at the drop of a hat to assist if equipment needed to be adjusted or replaced.
When the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium was completed and in use, although the facility was under the direct jurisdiction of the National Sports Authority, Burrows was called upon to provide his unique intensity to preparation details, to ensure the best possible competition environment.
Nowadays, when he is not walking within the precinct of the new national stadium (or old arena), you see him moving about on a golf cart, a figure of importance in the interest of a smooth operation.
Down through the years there have been other stalwarts whose concentration on the preparation of the fields of play … Jeff Williams, York Rolle, Lou Adderley, Penny Bain, Gladstone “Moon” McPhee, Churchill Tener-Knowles, Sidney “Moon” McPhee and others … was an essential dimension to The Bahamas Sports Brand, but none overlapped as did Doyle Burrows.
Indeed, he stands easily as the Godfather of Sports Maintenance in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
He has for many years, been one of those behind the scene contributors who provided tremendous value to national sports development.
Continued best wishes Doyle!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at 727-6363).