With sporting associations waiting in limbo in regard to competitive events on the island, Coach Gladstone ‘Moon’ McPhee is challenging the powers that be to make the environment safe and reliable for the future stars of tomorrow.
The coaching legend voiced that he understands the urge to be cautious, given the ongoing pandemic, but shared that it is time for a return to competitive sports, which ought to be given closer attention.
“We find a way to make everybody else happy, but we only find a way to stop these young people from getting together. They need it (sports), trust me. They need it.
“Coaches have an urge to coach these kids and these kids want to play. To tell them for the whole year they’re not going to have any sports is not fair,” said McPhee.
While visiting his daughter, Ole Miss Lady Rebels Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, in Mississippi some time ago, he realized that he was able to watch his granddaughter play softball frequently. He called it a disappointment that not much is being done to make a safe return for sports possible, here on island.
He is hopeful that by June, preferably the Labor Day weekend, there is some freedom to host the HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports) Labor Day Tournament.
“We have to care about our young people. We can’t lose them. I hope by June we have some freedom that we can play. And I also plan to mesh the Geneva Rutherford Tournament into that, because the kids want to play,” McPhee stated.
The coach was also extremely vocal on more action taking place, as opposed to empty promises being made.
“Caring is sharing and loving. You have to show that you care about young people, you have to love them. You can’t talk about it and there’s too much talking in this country about our young people.
“Take for instance, my daughter. Look at where she is at. Not one leader in this country called to say congratulations. She may not care, but I care. I care because the other young people around need to know that we have someone out there.
“But how would they know if the leaders in our country don’t show that they care. She was the main person that pushed me to start the Geneva Rutherford girls’ tournament. That was about 21 years ago and we will not let it stop.
“But, we realize that we’re in a situation where we need to be careful,” he added.
In regards to the HOYTES program, he shared that it continues at the Gladstone ‘Moon’ McPhee park on Sergeant Major Road, Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m. However, he expressed the need for a bathroom to be constructed after a recent incident where a young lady had to go to a nearby residence to use the bathroom.
He added that plans to raise funds for the bathroom are actively being discussed, which is something that should spark the need for facilities to be placed on other parks around the island.
“If the boys need to use the bathroom I can always tell them to use the bush, but I can’t say that for the girls.
“There are over 1,000 young men and women who came through this program and it’s my goal to plan a homecoming, 'Back to HOYTES.' And all we would ask for is that each former HOYTES player come in and place $10 in the bucket, towards the program and building a bathroom facility for our young people.
“And then we’re going to ask the local government and the leaders of the country to come forward, along with the business community. It’s a shame to build a park and without rest rooms,” McPhee concluded.