Today I had a meeting with leaders from Fusion Jamaica’s youth programme to plan what we will be doing over the coming weeks. We met in a patty shop in Crossroads (in the middle of Kingston). Half way through our meeting a young man came up and tapped me on the shoulder.
“Wha’ gwan coach?” he said.
“Nicholas!” I replied, eyes wide with surprise.
I got to know Nicholas 17 years ago, when he was 11 years old. He attended the first basketball club I ever ran in Trench Town. He played in a few competitions I ran and we met up at a few basketball events, so I have seen him a few times since, but before today I hadn’t seen him for at least seven years.
I asked him a bit about his journey since then, and it turns out that the club had ignited a passion for basketball that led him to play in school teams, for a club, and for the national under-19 team. The club also ignited a passion for investing in other people, in that same way he and the other members of his club were invested in. For the last 7 years he has been a coach at the ‘Jump Ball’ Basketball summer camps, travelling to different parts of Jamaica throughout the summer to help other children learn the sport and have a positive activity to occupy their time.
It was encouraging, not just to me, but to the other leaders sitting around the table; Nicholas’s story was just a good reminder of the long-term impact that this work can have.
(a photo of Nicholas, holding the trophy, with his team after winning a tournament in 2002)