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#472515 - 09/14/13 11:42 AM IN MEMORY OF “BIG MOLE,” SERAPIO ALVAREZ
Marty Online   happy

The news a few weeks ago of the passing of another football legend, Serapio “Big Mole” Alvarez, in California, USA, (on Friday night, August 23), underscores the importance of getting our football records and highlights documented in an accessible fashion for new generations of sports fans. For example, their names might mean little to today’s semipro ballers, but Big Mole and the Mugger, who also passed just over two months ago on June 28, were both instrumental in the first volleys launched in the battle to enact professional football in Belize. What these brothers did in the mid-1960’s with their Independence football team was indeed revolutionary at the time, and their effort later became the inspiration for new generations of footballers to achieve and realize the dream of professional football, for which they had fought and suffered ostracism from the entrenched football bureaucracy.

“Power gives up nothing without a demand,” and just like the Mugger, Big Mole and the players of Independence were banned from playing football for months when they first crossed hairs with the football “committee,” so it was with the Milpros Football Club in 1989, who were also banned for a while from participating in football.

I was too young to know or understand what all was going on in football when Independence was reportedly sanctioned by the football committee in the mid-1960’s, (I don’t know the exact year) but it is the writings of Evan X Hyde in Amandala in later years, when I was playing and coaching football, that nurtured the seed of inspiration, with the revelation about the revolutionary stand that the Mugger and Big Mole had taken. For that, these men have always been an inspiration and source of motivation for myself in my own football journey. At the time of their agitation and demands, there was no Amandala or Krem to voice and champion their struggles; in fact, UBAD had not yet come on the scene, so these brothers (Big Mole was an original UBAD member, according to the X) were football revolutionaries in their own right.

I still have not been able to get the full details of that episode in the 1960’s when Independence was punished by the football establishment; and the two men who would most know the details are now gone, the Mugger and Big Mole.

Two images are burned in my mind regarding Big Mole. The first, his defining statement of war and intimidation before a game, when entering a muddy MCC after hard rains, as he jumped and rolled in the mud holes, white uniform and all, to let the world and especially his opponents know, that he and the Independence squad had come to do battle. Independence was a “roots” team, but where football was concerned they always appeared impeccably attired, with great pride, for their game. It was said that the Mugger would severely chastise any team member who arrived at the stadium for a game without his boots well “polished” and uniform “lily” white. All the more significance of Big Mole’s “war readiness” pre-game ritual, as he was always one of the “cleanest” in appearance coming into the stadium.

The second was recorded in the X’s “The Crowd Called UBAD,” where, in the stillness and suspense of the deathly quiet night of July 7, 1970, shortly after 7:00 p.m. outside the Supreme Court building, where hundreds inside and outside the court house awaited the verdict from the chairman of the jury in the “Seditious Conspiracy” trial of Evan X Hyde and Ismail Omar Shabbaz of UBAD; there was suddenly a shout from a distance outside in the crowd, shattering the eerie and tension filled silence of the night, like a voice crying out in the wilderness, “LET MY PEOPLE GO!!” That was, according to the X, the voice of Serapio Alvarez, a.k.a. Big Mole. The verdict was “Not Guilty.”

Belize, our beautiful Belize, did not offer a hopeful future for a successful family life to Big Mole, the Mugger, and many others who eventually joined the exodus north, where there was greater hope for meaningful employment. Both men got married and raised stable families in the U.S. where they resided until their passing in 2013. The Mugger married a Belizean born Creole woman and lived in New York, while Big Mole married a white American woman and lived in California; and both were reportedly good husbands and fathers.

In little Belize of the 1960’s, Big Mole was almost a social outcast, someone from the “ghetto;” and he quickly became one of the earliest UBADers. To some it would seem ironic that Big Mole would marry and raise a family with a white woman in the States; but they would be forgetting that UBAD always preached against white racism and “downpression” of black people (the black, the brown, the yellow and the red), but never against white people per se, as there were individual white people who worked with UBAD from its earliest days with the breakfast program. As black Belizeans and UBADers forever, therefore, we all shouldn’t be reluctant to embrace as our own the wife and family of Big Mole. She chose to join her seed with that of our Belizean warrior; therefore, she must be a revolutionary also in her own right, to have made that choice and remained at Big Mole’s side through thick and thin.

Our sincerest condolences to Mrs. Serapio Alvarez and her family; and as well to Mrs. Louis “the Mugger” Garbutt and her family.

Big Mole reportedly passed away in the U.S. on Friday night after a long illness. His memory, along with the Mugger, will always be a source of inspiration for me.

Amandala


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#473065 - 09/21/13 11:44 AM Re: IN MEMORY OF “BIG MOLE,” SERAPIO ALVAREZ [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

It was a first effort, the idea of football legend himself, Nelson “the Roo” Robinson, and the street facing the Third World field was temporarily blocked off yesterday afternoon by a congregation of relatives, friends and football fans and veterans who came to share in the festive occasion to honor the memory of perhaps Belize’s greatest football legend, Louis “Bembe, the Mugger” Garbutt, who passed away in New York on June 28 of this year.

In a brief ceremony to mark the occasion at the residence of Ms. Linda Faber, ex-wife of the Roo, master of ceremony Earl Grinage first invited Mugger’s wife, Mrs. Sylvia Garbutt, who received Belize’s Meritorious Award in his honor at the Bliss on Thursday last, to say a few words about her late husband and thank the organizers and everyone present for sharing in the occasion. Others then shared their thoughts, including Norman Fairweather, a close friend of the Mugger in New York, Hilbert “Areas” Craig, Bert Cattouse, Vincent “Winty J” Johnson, and the Roo, who then exhorted everyone present to enjoy the rest of the evening – music, food and drinks were provided under a tent in the yard.

The day would not be complete without a game of football, and a selection of veterans were no match for the Kulture Over-40 squad, who, though short a couple players, still got a convincing win, 3-1 or 5-1, according to different sources. The Roo posed in his usual goalkeeper position for the veterans pre-game picture, and the yet active Winty J showed he still “got game.”

An array of female relatives, friends and fans of the Mugger and the Roo, who hosted the event, were seated on chairs placed on the street side to watch the game; and later in the evening, after the game was over and the ladies had either departed or retreated inside the yard under the tent, some of the old timers soon took over the street side chairs, and the real football talk then went into high gear and continued on into the night.

One special highlight of the afternoon was the arrival of Raymond “Lee Mole, Ramon, El Toro” Alvarez along with his wife Eleanor. Lee Mole has been ailing for some time, and it was a pleasure to have his company on this special occasion, when the remembrances also included that of his older brother, another football legend, Serapio “Big Mole” Alvarez, a very close friend and teammate of the Mugger on Independence, who, as fate would have it, also passed away recently in U.S., less than two months after the Mugger. A number of the younger footballers in the gathering never got to know the Mugger or Big Mole before they left for the States; but most of them know Lee Mole, who is himself a living legend, having played a dominant role in Belize football in the decade of the 70’s.

In an interesting sidelight, a young brother remarked to Pealoff that he didn’t know that he, Pealoff, used to play top-level football – Jerome “Pealoff” Maheia of the original Jaguars fame in the mid 1970’s. It was funny, but it underscored the need to re-activate the dormant Belize Football Hall of Fame, and give it life, so that the younger generation of ‘ballers can be educated about the “generals” who came before, and who helped pave the way for them.

Rupert “Canalete” Anderson, a star goalkeeper with champion teams (Landivar of the late 1960’s and White Label of 1976-77) was there too, and the conversation remained exciting and animated, until after 9:30 p.m., when we had to call it a night.

We also got to meet and hear of the old days of Dunlop and Independence from another legend and close friend of the Mugger, Randolph “Tiempo” Barrow. Tiempo talked of the total dedication and commitment to training that he shared with the Mugger, the Roo and “Qualify” (Charles Nicholas), who used to hang together. He said they were called “the 3 musketeers and 1,” and they stayed in shape, training year round, although the football season only lasted about 4-5 months in those days (late September to late January or early February). Hearing Tiempo, it reminded me of the bond shared with Chubby, the Mob, Don’t and Bom (Evan Jones, Winston Humes, Benjamin Mejia and Wayne Jones, respectively) in the mid-1980’s, who used to train together in the midday sun, and still report for team workout in the evenings with Coke Milpros. It had to be that they were thinking that there was something to be achieved at the “end of the tunnel” from becoming the best in football. Professionalism was certainly on their mind, and Tiempo confirmed that they did make demands from the association, and were sanctioned for their efforts. They were considered outcasts, “weed smokers,” which they certainly were at the time; but, nevertheless, they were among the best in the sport, and “the system” had to acknowledge that on a number of occasions.

Tiempo recalled a game in Jamaica in 1963, when himself, the Mugger and the Roo were left out of the starting line-up as a disciplinary action (the team manager was Bill Lightburn), for not conforming to some rules during the trip; and it was the cricket contingent members who clamored for them to be put in the game, when the Jamaican team was beating the Belize Selection 3-1 in the first half. Tiempo said the management relented and inserted them in at half-time, and Belize went on to win the game, 5-3. He said that the Belize team won 4 games and lost 1 on that Jamaica trip. A Jamaica selection later completed the series with a visit to Belize the same (or the following year), and that game was drawn, 2-2. A similar situation would develop some years later when a visiting Mexican team beat everybody, the Belize City champion and a selection; and the committee called on Independence to try and stop the visitors, which they did in dramatic fashion, 4-1, at the MCC.

The Roo, for his part, gave some interesting revelations about his “rebel” behavior in the face of class prejudice he experienced from the football and social establishment. One involved a job request he had made to Mr. Russel Grant when being recruited to play for Brodies; another when invited to the Brodies championship “ball” at Thistle Hall, when he wanted to bring in his friends Tiempo and the Mugger, since he didn’t yet have a wife, and they were refused entry; and another when he was taken off the Brodies champion team trophy list when word got out to management that he was planning to leave and join another team for the next season. The Roo’s actions, which we will describe in detail another time, were those of a real rebel. In the American parlance he would be called “one bad nigger.” It figures why brothers like the Roo, the Mugger and Big Mole felt they had to go north to seek betterment for themselves, when “the system” didn’t allow them to achieve their dreams from the thing they knew how to do best, and were willing to work hard at – playing football.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable night, and only served to spark our interest to learn more from the still living legends about the game of yesterday, their experiences and lessons learned, from which we can benefit and pass on to inspire the young ‘ballers of today.

Amandala


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#473744 - 10/01/13 11:45 AM Re: IN MEMORY OF “BIG MOLE,” SERAPIO ALVAREZ [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
The storied history of one of Cayo’s most prolific sports enthusiast Mr. Raymond “Steeler” Garbutt continued over the weekend, almost simultaneously in Belize City and in Cayo. In Cayo, Mr. Garbutt was inducted into the football hall of fame in a ceremony held at the Eden Resort. Garbutt, 75, was among a group of five that got the public citation and high national honor as a member of the Mighty Avengers football club and his contribution to the sport of football. While Mr. Garbutt was attending his hall of fame induction, in Belize City, his softball team, the Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy was battling hard to win the national women’s softball championship. The team captured the silver medal, but the performance of the team in the championship was a testament to the leadership that this veteran sportsman has provided, not only to the Roaring Creek softball club but to the sport of softball in Belize on a whole. Congratulations Mr. Raymond “Steeler” Garbutt.

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#473845 - 10/02/13 11:20 AM Re: IN MEMORY OF “BIG MOLE,” SERAPIO ALVAREZ [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

7 FOOTBALL GREATS INDUCTED INTO THE MIGHTY AVENGERS FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME

A first ever Cayo Football Awards and Mighty Avengers Football Hall of Fame induction was held yesterday at the Henry’s Eden Resort on the outskirts of San Ignacio on the Benque Viejo Road. In a beautiful ceremony attended by relatives, friends and long time Avengers fans, awards of recognition and appreciation were given to various individuals who have made their mark and contribution to football in the Cayo District. Special recognition was given to surviving veteran members of the famous Western District selections of the 1940’s – ‘60’s, the Verdes Football Club of the 1980’s, as well as lifetime members, fans and supporters of the Mighty Avengers Football Club, which graced the football arenas and thrilled audiences from 1968 until 1979. But the highlight of the evening was the induction of the first group of 7 former stars into the Mighty Avengers Hall of Fame.

Each of the 7 candidates for the first ever induction to the Mighty Avengers Hall of Fame was introduced by a presenter, who said a few words by way of commendation and justification for their selection to this great honor; after which each was afforded the privilege to address the gathering. The event was a warm reunion of men who had trained and played together for years, and a number of them were overwhelmed by emotions when beginning their address. The moment was more emotional because of the recent passing of two former Avengers stars, Calbert “Culebra” Neal and Samuel “Pilis” Neal, Pilis being one of the 7 first inductees, who passed away just nine days before the event. Pilis was presented by his wife of 45 years, Esmay, and represented in the awards ceremony by his son, Samuel. The other 6 inductees were all present to receive their plaques from guest speaker Hon. Michael Finnegan and be named to the Mighty Avengers Hall of Fame.

The 7 inductees were: (1) Gerald “Speedy” Henry; (2) Cristino Jorge “Maya” Ortega; (3) Albert “Pappy” Smith; (4) Daniel “Nayo” Waght; (5) Samuel “Pilis” Neal; (6) Theodore “Bones” Lennan; and (7) Raymond “Steela” Garbutt.

After a tolling of the bell for the departed, and a vote of thanks by organizing committee secretary David Cruz, the Avengers awardees all sang together the Mighty Avengers Club Song, Heart of Jesus.

N.B. A more detailed report will be in our weekend issue.

Amandala


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#474185 - 10/05/13 11:38 AM Re: IN MEMORY OF “BIG MOLE,” SERAPIO ALVAREZ [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

THE MIGHTY AVENGERS MAKES HISTORY – FIRST CAYO FOOTBALL AWARDS AND MIGHTY AVENGERS HALL OF FAME

Football was being played yesterday with the opening weekend of the Premier League of Belize tournament, but football history was made earlier in the afternoon at Henry’s Eden Resort a couple miles outside of San Ignacio on the Benque Viejo Road, where some of the district’s greatest football stars of yesteryear gathered along with relatives, friends, football fans and invited guests for the first ever Mighty Avengers Hall of Fame and Cayo Football Awards ceremony.

Just a couple weeks ago on September 15 in Belize City, the first “Mugger Day” was held in honor of Belize City football legend Louis “Bembe, the Mugger” Garbutt, who passed away on June 28 in New York. His close friend and legendary teammate on Independence, Serapio “Big Mole” Alvarez, also passed away less than two months after the Mugger; so the day turned out to be a memorial for him also, as well as a forum for fans to reminisce on other great football stars of the past, some deceased and some still with us. Present at the gathering was Mole’s ailing younger brother, Ramon “Lee Mole” Alvarez, himself a gigantic star of the 1970’s. And shortly afterwards we learned that another legend, Angus “Mr. Ball” Vernon is reported to have suffered a stroke. (By the way, does anyone know if Angus has yet received the Meritorious Service award?) The times seem to be directing the football family to look back and give recognition and show appreciation to the past stars who have lighted up our sporting life by their performances on the football field, as well as by their character off the pitch.

The Mugger was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service award at a ceremony at the Bliss Center in connection with the recent Independence Day celebrations. And sometime back in the 1980’s, a Belize Sports Hall of Fame was launched by the National Sports Council, and plaques of the awardees are still hung on the walls of the Sports Council office in Belize City. Unfortunately, the Belize Sports Hall of Fame has apparently become dormant after that inaugural induction, perhaps partly due to the sad tradition of discontinuing initiatives after a change in political administrations in Belize. But there had never been, to the best of our knowledge, an individual football club launching its own Hall of Fame in Belize. Not until the Mighty Avengers.

It is perhaps fitting that the annals of football history in Belize, when it is written, will record that the first football club to organize and, with dignity and distinction, carry out an awards ceremony for its first Hall of Fame inductees, was the Mighty Avengers Football Club from the western district of Cayo. Always a class act, the Awards Ceremony coordinated by the Avengers Club Organizing Committee included all the “pomp and circumstance” of the annual Belize National Patriots Awards ceremony recently held at the Bliss Center in conjunction with the Independence Day celebrations.

Special invited guests for the occasion at Henry’s Eden Resort included FFB President Ruperto Vicente (he was represented by Vice President Sergio Chuc); Earl Trapp, Jr., President of Cayo Football Association; Hon. Erwin Contreras (represented by his father Rafael “Chapai” Contreras); Evan X Hyde (represented by his brother Charles X Hyde); and guest speaker, Hon. Michael Finnegan.

We learned from remarks made by the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Mighty Avengers Football Club, Rodney Neal, that the idea for the Hall of Fame began with a chance meeting between himself and former Avengers goalkeeper Michael “Teddy” Recinos while on a trip to Los Angeles last year. Teddy suggested an Avengers reunion, and this was accomplished in April of this year, when David Cruz, the club’s Secretary pushed the idea further to the launching of the Mighty Avengers Hall of Fame. The Organizing Committee for yesterday’s event included: Rodney Neal – Chairman; David Cruz – Secretary; Gerald “Speedy” Henry – Treasurer (his Henry’s Eden Resort was made available free of cost); and Members – Daniel “Nayo” Waight, Michael “Teddy” Recinos, Morrison Padgett and Hermilio Zetina.

The afternoon began shortly after 2:00 p.m. with the boisterous singing of the national anthem by all in attendance. The invocation followed by Mrs. Yvette Gill, daughter of founding Avengers Secretary, David Cruz. Former Avengers Albert “Gabe” Roches and Daniel “Nayo” Waight shared the Master of Ceremonies duties. And then the speeches began, starting with the Welcome by former Avengers player Allan Moore; followed by an “Avengers History” by Gerald “Speedy” Henry; remarks by Organizing Committee Chairman, Rodney Neal; a “Western District History” by former Cayo football star and minister of government Hector Silva, who enlightened the audience with the outstanding achievements of the Western District selection of the 1940’s – ‘50’s. He was also presented with a Recognition Award by David Cruz. Sergio Chuc gave a message of congratulations and support from the FFB for the Avengers youth football team effort. Other remarks were given by Earl Trapp, Jr., President of the Cayo Football Association, and Charles X Hyde (deputizing for Evan X Hyde), who presented the “Mighty Avengers Lifetime Members” awards; and he was followed by special guest speaker, Hon. Michael Finnegan, whose Amandala article “One in a Million You” was laminated and copies on hand for him to present to each Mighty Avengers Hall of Fame inductee along with a Hall of Fame plaque.

In his Welcome address, Allan Moore chronicled some highlights going back some 45 years to the start of the Avengers, and reminded those present that this was a “… historic and milestone event in the continued life of a great football team that has left an indelible mark on our communities of San Ignacio and Santa Elena and by extension Belize.” Moore, obviously still imbued with the admiration and love of his great team, and considers the club to be still alive, observed that “The Mighty Avengers was much more than a gifted bunch of young, talented and energetic individuals with strong and competent leadership. They were role models in their own right who, more often than not, got the job done – won games and made their fans happy.”

Aside from their “entertaining games” and “excellent performance,” Moore said there were “the intangibles… the bonding agents… that served in uniting our community… our San Ignacio and Santa Elena.” He recalled a period “in the mid ‘70’s when Santa Elena and San Ignacio couldn’t see eye to eye. One could not pass the bridge without being menaced by the other side. That year, Avengers brought out its first long sleeve set of white uniforms with the logo of the Hawksworth Bridge printed on them and a capital ‘A’ as the mid-support suspension of the bridge. This logo was… powerful… suggesting connectivity, accessibility, commonality, support and unity, the effects of which possibly played a great role in getting the twin towns together again.” This was evidenced by the positive change in the social climate, so that, whenever an Avengers game was to be played the next day, no alcohol would be sold to any Avengers player by any of the establishments on either side of the bridge. They were only allowed their treats after the game. Avengers had re-united the twin towns.

Gerald “Speedy” Henry then briefly recounted the history behind the launching of the Mighty Avengers Football Club, how some over-confidence and carelessness had led the then highly regarded Western District selection to receive the “shock of our lives,” a disappointing 6-1 defeat in P.G. in June 1967 in the Inter-District competition. The team management and players were so embarrassed, heart-broken and demoralized by the loss that an emergency meeting was called immediately after their return to Cayo; and their united resolve at that meeting to avenge and never repeat that terrible failure was expressed in the new name suggested by then team manager David Cruz, inspired by comic book characters, and thus was born the Mighty Avengers Football Club.

Speedy said that Avengers never participated in any Cayo football competitions. The players played on different teams in the local competitions, but they came together as The Mighty Avengers to represent the Cayo District in the Inter-District or sometimes in the Belize City competition, which often featured teams from other districts. He said the team was always “very fit and very disciplined,” and was so popular that crowds even flocked to their workouts on weekdays; prompting the club management to suggest to the then Town Council foreman of many years, Mr. Norman Broaster, to try and get the football field fenced, so the club could earn funds from its weekend games. Thus, when his efforts came to fruition, it was agreed by all to name it the Norman Broaster Stadium. Speedy read a list of 46 names of players who had performed on the Mighty Avengers team during its era from 1967-1979. In addition, there were 13 members of management, and some 60 die-hard fans who travelled everywhere with the team. He noted that there is now a new Avengers Farm System, as some young kids have been adopted to begin developing the next generation of the Mighty Avengers, under the guidance of the son of another Avengers Hall of Fame inductee, Daniel “Nayo” Waight.

In his remarks, Charles X noted that the selection out of Cayo that participated in the Belize City competitions was always a top ranking team that drew packed audiences at the MCC. He recalled the story of the fore-runner to Avengers around 1966 or ‘67, a team named Rocking-R out of Cayo sponsored by a Mr. Bull, which was one victory away from securing the championship, but was held to a draw by a low ranked Arsenal team that had strengthened up with suspended Independence players only for that match. Rocking-R led 1-nil with 5 minutes remaining in regulation, when a Mugger corner was headed in by “Hani” Robinson to tie the game and deny Rocking-R the championship. And a 1971 newspaper clipping cited Avengers as the then league leader in points with 9 wins, 2 draws and only 1 defeat. He congratulated the Avengers Club on the Hall of Fame and said he was pleased to know that it was planned to continue the event in the coming years.

Hon. Finnegan once again lauded the Mighty Avengers team for their brilliant and enjoyable performances to the delight of fans. He re-iterated his selection of Albert “Pappy” Smith as the best football player he has seen in this country, but had special words of praise, and condolences to his wife, Esmay, for recently deceased Avengers star Samuel “Pilis” Neal, who he said was just a notch below Pappy in skill on the football field. He also expressed condolences for another recently departed Avengers star, Calbert “Culebra” Neal. And he commended each of the Hall of Fame inductees in turn, as well as other members not present, for their stellar performances on the Mighty Avengers team.

It was already dark before all the awards had been handed out, culminating with the first Hall of Fame induction of the “Magnificent 7” Avengers.

The complete list of those honored at the awards ceremony included outstanding members of the various clubs which had represented the Cayo District from the 1950’s to 2000 (D – deceased):

“Western District” members – Hector Silva; Alvaro “Pap” Habet; Willie Bush (D); Leandro Leal; and Elias Alfaro.

“Cayo District” members – Herbert “H.A.” Trapp; Ronald Hulse; and Salvador Habet.

“Verdes F.C.” members – Rafael “Chapai” Contreras; Erwin Contreras; Amin “Zorro” Cano; and Tony Castellanos.

“MIGHTY AVENGERS FOOTBALL CLUB” :-

Lifetime Members, Fans & Supporters – Daniel Gutierrez (D); Theodore “Flash” Waight (D); Lloyd Awe; Luis “Bunny” Gongora; George Flowers (D); Evan X Hyde; Michael Finnegan; Ernesto “Chief” Azueta.

Lifetime Members of Management – Eric Fairweather; David Cruz; Alwyn Smith; Jaime “Canche” Zetina; Hermilio Zetina; Jalil Bedran (D); George Haylock, Sr. (D).

Lifetime Members – Rodney Neal; Gabriel “Gabe” Roches; Victor “Ba” August (D); Elias Juan; Stanley “Timba” Robinson; Calbert “Culebra” Neal (D); Earl Haylock (D); David Smith; Timothy “Timmy” Bedran (D); Michael “Teddy” Recinos; Arturo “Turo” Azueta; Hilbert Linares.

HALL OF FAME – Gerald “Speedy” Henry; Cristino Jorge “Maya” Ortega; Albert “Pappy” Smith; Daniel “Nayo” Waight; Samuel “Pilis” Neal (D); Theodore “Bones” Lennan; Raymond “Steela” Garbutt.

After each saying a few words of appreciation (Mrs. Esmay Neal, wife of Samuel “Pilis” Neal, spoke on his behalf, and his son Samuel received the plaque on his behalf), the 7 Hall of Famers were seated in a row facing the guests holding their Hall of Fame plaques. There were mixed emotions, both joy and sadness, as the memories of their departed teammates flooded their minds, and particularly “Maya”, “Pappy” and “Steela” were all briefly overwhelmed with emotion at the start of their addresses. But they all regained themselves and expressed what was in their hearts to thank those gathered.

The “tolling of the bell” for the departed was followed by a Vote of Thanks by Organizing Committee Secretary, David Cruz. And then the inductees along with their fellow Avengers Club members stood together and sang the Mighty Avengers Club Song, Heart of Jesus, to end the evening.

The event was the first of its kind for a football club in Belize, and the joyful reunion will hopefully start a new annual tradition for the Mighty Avengers Football Club, and lead other legendary clubs from all districts, and even the national association, the FFB, to consider something similar.

Amandala


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