This coming Saturday, December 7, at the Grand Lucayan Pavilion in Freeport, Grand Bahama, a true national hero will be celebrated.
The venerable and inimitable Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee will be honored by the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association at a testimonial banquet. This moment in time has been long in coming for the unique mentor of youth, through sports and education. A tribute of this magnitude is indeed overdue.
McPhee is a national hero, although the powers that be, as seems the general mindset with politicians, select all and sundry for the hero honor, deemed the highest forum of appreciation in the land, with very little focus on sports.
I invite the general public to simply peruse the list of designated heroes during the first two historical classifications by the Government of The Bahamas. Just a mere handful of sporting icons made the short list, both in 2018 and 2019.
Well, Coach McPhee is as ideal as any to hold up as a prime example of a sports contributor to nation building who should have been classified a national hero in the very first group so honored.
What this man has done, is simply incredible.
Passing through his hands over some 50 years have been those who developed to be some of the brightest and most productive adult citizens in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and the wider world, as a percentage of his campers opted to remain abroad and utilize his teaching in places other than The Bahamas, and understandably so.
One such is his very own daughter, Yolett Mcphee-McCuin. She is the head women’s coach for basketball at the University of Mississippi.
Young Nathan Bain, son of noted educator/coach Norris Bain, he of the game -winning basket for Stephen Austin University, last week, against the highly-regarded Duke University, came up through Coach Moon’s development program.
Nathan’s father, Norris paid the high compliment to Coach McPhee, on Sunday.
“All of my kids, I took to Moon, Nathan of course. I had to take them to him so they could get what Coach Moon offers,” said Norris.
That’s particularly huge, when one considers that Norris Bain himself is a giant in coaching. He owns six Hugh Campbell High School Championships, with his Tabernacle Baptist Falcons teams. Norris Bain stands tall in the annals of Bahamian basketball coaching. Yet, he chose Coach Moon as the primary avenue to nurture and sharpen the skill sets of his sons.
There certainly are national heroes within the national sports fraternity, quite a number of them indeed.
So, when the tributes flow from the podium at the Grand Lucayan Pavilion, this coming Saturday evening for Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee, being acknowledged, will be a Bahamian National Hero of the highest order.
A deceased friend of mind was known for this emphatic statement:
“I tell you that.”
Congratulations and continued best wishes Coach Moon!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at 8727-6363).