Kwasi Thompson: “Sports is able to join people together”

SPORTS IS POWER — The Minister for Grand Bahama, the honorable Kwasi Thompson officially declared the Rising Stars Baseball and Softball Developmental League open this past Saturday at GB Sports Complex Softball Park. (PHOTOS: SHAYNE STUBBS)

The Rising Stars Baseball and Softball Developmental League threw out it’s first pitch this past weekend.

On Saturday, February 3, the Developmental League had the honor of having Minister for Grand Bahama, the honorable Kwasi Thompson throw out the first pitch to declare the season open at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex.
But before that occurred, he shared a brief message to the budding baseball and softball enthusiasts, as well as parents and Rising Stars executives. To first illustrate the importance of sports, he used the example of North and South Korea; two countries that violently don’t see eye-to-eye but are united by sport on the world’s biggest stage when it comes to the Olympics.

“That is how important sports is. So where Governments can’t get people together, where businesses can’t get people together, where the people themselves can’t get people together, sports is able to join people together,” he stated, “So what we are doing here today is valuable.

“I have two daughters who are a part of you. And one thing that I can say from personal experience with my daughters is that they are so excited to be a part of this program. So I want to congratulate you Ms. (Yvonne) Lockhart and all of your executives and coaches.”

The Minister further stated that the Government fully supports sports and said they must do even more in support of our sporting programs. He also expressed thanks to those in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture in Grand Bahama for the renovations made to the softball field at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex, mainly the bleachers and dugouts.

“There is much more that needs to be done but I’m thankful that we were able to complete those parts of it and we’re going to be working with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to complete the other parts of the renovations.”

As Rising Stars President, Lockhart spoke about last year’s challenges that followed as a result of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. While she discussed the loss of the 10 and Under division for baseball, she was happy to announce the addition of the Under 12 division for softball. She also celebrated a joint venture with the Legacy Baseball.

“This season we have established an exchange program with the Legacy Baseball Association for our T-Ball and coach pitch division. Additionally, we’re working with the Total Education Center as a part of our baseball program.”

Lockhart also announced that three of the program’s young ladies were afforded scholarships; one to the University of The Bahamas in Nassau, one to Talladega College in Alabama and one at Kansas Christian Academy in Kansas City. Overall, the president feels this season will be one of growth as a result of their new partnership.

“Our League’s objective are building character, skills development, respect for authority, and implanting the ideals of good sportsmanship for our athletes. This is an achievement for us as executives and coaches. We at Rising Stars are committed to these objectives in our developmental phase.

“We look forward to a productive and exciting 2018 season. Through our inter-league play with Legacy, we expect to continue to enjoy a family atmosphere especially for the athletes, many of whom are friends and for others who will be embracing new friendships.”

The Rising Stars executive body consists of Helen Cooper - Secretary, Shavanda Deleveaux - Treasurer, Greg Bullard - Vice President of Baseball, - Nerissa Lockhart-Saunders - V.P of Softball, Erica Roberts - Safety Officer, Erin Murphy - Marketing/Public Relations and Anthoniece Wilmott - League Information Officer.

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