Jordan urges Barbados to create identity through sport in keynote address at NSC Awards

By January 08, 2024
Alex Jordan delivering her keynote address at the NSC Awards in Barbados on Friday. Alex Jordan delivering her keynote address at the NSC Awards in Barbados on Friday.

‘Creating Identity Through Sport’ was the topic of the keynote address given by international cricket broadcaster and former Sportsmax Zone host, Alex Jordan, at Barbados’ 39th annual National Sports Council (NSC) Awards ceremony on Friday.

In the presence of a number of the country’s sporting icons, past and present, Jordan made the point of just how storied the history of sport is in the country with a population of just 282,158.

“Barbados has long had a sporting identity of course. The three Ws, Sir Garfield Sobers, Greenidge and Haynes, need I go on?” she said before adding that sport “is a powerful tool that builds both self and community.”

A Bajan national youth breaststroke champion in her own right, Jordan gave a moving address outlining how sport has formed a major part of how she identifies herself today.

“The potential for sport does not start and finish with being the best athlete, there’s the driver, the coach, the chef, the physio, the statistician, the parent; we’re all forging an identity through sport,” she said.

“We have to cement who we are into our consciousness. We say we understand how rich of a history it is and how successful it is in developing our youth and our nation but we don’t focus nearly enough on it as a livelihood. This right now is a watershed moment for Barbados, a wonderful opportunity to really define modern Bajan sporting identity,” she added.

With that in mind, she is advocating that the stories of more Barbadian sporting icons be told. She mentioned methods such as documentaries and the formation of a visual hall of fame as ways this can be done.

“I want to plead to our nation to tell more of our stories. In order for us to really respect ourselves and feel pride in ourselves, we have to know ourselves. How can we know ourselves if we don’t tell our stories?” she said.

Two athletes Jordan mentioned by name that should be highlighted were seven-time champion jockey Patrick Husbands and Olympic swimmer Antonio Boyle, who is currently the Senior Vice President for Strategic Enrollment and Student Affairs at Delaware State University.

The son of a jockey, Husbands began riding as a young boy, turning professional in his home country where he rode successfully until emigrating to Toronto, Ontario in 1994.

In 1990 he became the youngest jockey to win the prestigious Barbados Gold Cup at just 16 years, 9 months on his mount Vardar.

Racing out of Woodbine Racetrack, in 2003 Husbands won the Canadian Triple Crown aboard the colt Wando and that year became his breakout year. Among his other notable wins, he rode Numerous Times to victory in the $1 million 2001 Woodbine Mile and Exciting Story in that same year's Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park in New York. He rode Arch Hall to three straight wins between 2004 and 2006 in the Sir Barton Stakes. In 2007, he was the regular rider on Canadian Horse of the Year, Sealy Hill.

On October 4, 2009 Patrick Husbands earned his 2,000th career victory at Woodbine Racetrack and on June 18, 2016, he brought up his 3,000th career victory at the venue.

Boyle had the distinction of competing as part of the Barbados Swim Team in the 1987 Pan American Games and the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

From 1994 to 2014, Mr. Boyle held enrollment management leadership posts at Kentucky State University, South Carolina State University, Florida A&M University and Alabama A&M University.

He was the vice president of Enrollment Management for Wiley College in Marshall, Texas from March 2016 to present. Prior to that, from November 2014 to March 2016 at Wilberforce University in Ohio, he served in a similar position initially and then was elevated to senior vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Services.

He has been at Delaware State since 2018.

“We need to tell their stories and we need to put it in schools. We need to establish a visual hall of fame. Can you imagine showing documentaries in school about Pat Husbands or the amount of horsing talent in Harts gap. What about Antonio Boyle? From St. James Secondary to senior VP in Delaware State University. He was the first generation of black working-class swimmers in this country,” she said.

“What do you think swimming and his success did to his sense of self? He was unstoppable in that pool as a teenager and he has been unstoppable in the field of academic administration ever since. It’s a massive story and we should tell it,” she added.

Jordan concluded her address by asking “what are we the best at but don’t yet realize?”

“Together, we can cement our sporting identity and use it to propel us forward so that we as a nation can keep punching above our weight,” she added.

Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

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