GB Track Stadium to be named after Errol Bodie?

by: Andrew Coakley, Sports Editor

It's been decided - the GB Sports Complex track stadium will be named in honour of coach Errol Bodie.

At least, for now, that's the word from Tourism Minister and Member of Parliament for West End, Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, who made the announcement during a Memorial Service for coach Errol Bodie, who was laid to rest on Saturday morning.

The Memorial Service was held on Friday night at the Mary, Star of the Sea School auditorium, and was well attended by friends, family members and athletes who were recipients of coach Bodie's guidance through the avenue of track and field.

Minister Wilchcombe said he could think of no reason why the track stadium could not be named after Bodie, whom he said has done so much to the development of Grand Bahama through sports.

However, the Minister said that he felt bad that Bodie had passed, and most of all he felt bad that too many times in this country people are retired too early, who may still have something to contribute.

" Why retire a man who can still work, when he can still contribute, when he can still have an influence on young men, when he can still be a mentor,"  said Minister Wilchcombe.

" When you had people like Errol Bodie still coaching, we didn't have that much crime, because Bodie knew how to speak to young men and he knew how to teach them principles and discipline.

" But too often, for whatever reasons, we forget and too often we believe that all we have to do was be on one political side or the other, and worse still, we forget that we all have roles to play to contribute to building a great country." 

Wilchcombe noted that although coach Bodie had his strong views about certain things and although Bodie was very cynical about politicians, he always spoke the truth and did so with wisdom.

The Minister said that Bodie always reminded him that as a politician and as a Minister understood what his role was and what it was he was supposed to contribute to society.

" And so tonight, Iâ m honoured to be a part of this Memorial Service for such a great man and certainly, weâ re gonna name that complex after coach Bodie, because he deserved it,"  said Wilchcombe.

" Errol Bodie earned it and he do so the old fashioned way, by working hard for it. He left it all on the field. He gave all he could and when he didnâ t have anything left to give, he still tried to give some more." 

Although the Minister did not give a time when such an official naming would take place, he said there can be no doubt that coach Errol Bodie earned the right to have the track in Grand Bahama named after him.

For a long time, since the track was constructed, there has been a debate as to who the track should be named after.

A number of names were suggested, but there was a hold off from making any official announcement about whose name was the 'winning'  name.

Minister Wilchcombe went on to reminisce on some of the great accomplishments of coach Errol Bodie, further strengthening his reasons as to why the track complex should be named after Bodie.

" Too often we forget those who have made a difference in our country, and we celebrate only those whom we feel has made somewhat of a difference, those who came after all the hard work was done,"  said Wilchcombe.

" In nation building a lot of times we believe that only those who occupy the chambers of government or only those who occupy the halls of academia contribute to nation building. And we forget that the revolution is often done by the extraordinary individual who has a commitment to give service.

" Errol Bodie came to Grand Bahama with a sense of purpose. He didnâ t come to be a great athlete or a politician, but what he came to do was to help build a country. What he came to do was to make use of the natural gifts and talents that exist in our islands. What he wanted to do was to reach deep down inside and develop a country, that was still not yet born, to believe in themselves. He wanted to give young men and women who may have come from the far flung islands, he wanted to give them a dream and to believe that yes they could become somebody or do something great." 

Wilchcombe said that he got a chance to meet coach Bodie because as a youngster, he attended Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic School.

He said that while he had a deep desire to be an athlete, God had not blessed him with such gifts as he had blessed others. But Wilchcombe said his love for sports caused him to attend many basketball games and to watch great players make a name for themselves in various sports. He remembered when coach Errol Bodie came to Grand Bahama and how he chose to go to Hawksbill High school to coach and to prove that a public school could dominate in sports.

" So when Errol Bodie began to look and to search and to bring his own taste of sport, track and field in particular, he had a plan,"  said Wilchcombe.

" Men of vision, men of steel, like Errol Bodie understood that you had to begin the process of building a great sporting nation with what you had at the time. He started then what we have now. What Errol Bodie did was he inspired us all and caused us to appreciate our gifts and talents. So, when he came to this island, he began a revolution. A revolution that suggested that you could talk to young people through something they understood, which was sports.

" Errol Bodie made Grand Bahama an island of champions. He made Grand Bahamians proud and he created leaders out of young men and women." 

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