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Beneficiaries of sports challenged to focus on payback contributions

It was quite a surprise for the inimitable sports mentor Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee!

A gentleman showed up at the park named in McPhee’s honor on Sargent Major Road in Freeport, Grand Bahama, on Saturday past, with a huge smile on his face. It was none other than Demeko Nesbitt, son of the legendary basketball player, Dereck “Bookie” Nesbitt.

Demeko grew up in McPhee’s HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports) Foundation program and was present to visit with his old coach, but also to give back to the program. Young Nesbitt had come bearing gifts. Dozens of new basketballs are now in the HOYTES stock room and Demeko expressed delight over the continuity of the program and demonstrated an interest in HOYTES initiatives going forward.

He was particularly complimentary of the inaugural ‘Mississippi Travel Camps’ which HOYTES is coordinating in conjunction with the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion.

“Man, that’s interesting. I’ll look at the details and see just how we could assist,” said Demeko, while looking attentively at the template information for the June 20 to July 2 venture. Two teams of boys and girls (age 8-16) will travel into Oxford, Mississippi, USA, to the campus of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), for camps to be conducted by Ole Miss Lady Rebels Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, and Kermit Davis who heads the men’s basketball program at the institution.

As for Coach ‘Moon’ McPhee, he was grateful.

“It was a surprise. I congratulate Demeko. It gives me pleasure when I see the men and women who came through the program coming to provide assistance, just as others did for them when they were young and moving through the phases of development, just like these kids out there now,” said Coach McPhee. “I have to say though, that this does not happen nearly as often as it should. There are scores and scores of them, now men and women, with quality jobs who never pay any attention to the program that started it all for them. Though this program, they got scholarships and advanced to where they are today. They never think about HOYTES though. This is bad, but that’s something that they have to live with. They know who they are. They came. Their parents brought them to me and they benefited from HOYTES. You never see them though. That’s why it was heart-warming when Demeko came by. I thought it was just excellent that he brought all those new basketballs,” added McPhee.

As per usual on Saturdays, the Gladstone “Moon” McPhee Park basketball court area was the forum for over a score of young boys and girls, dropped off by parents/guardians to tap into the expertise of the veteran sports teacher.

Avidly applying themselves were of course, the players already registered for the Mississippi Travel Camps.

Demeko’s gesture was a great example for the young players. Hopefully they got the message and communicated such to their parents.

Those who give back to sports development, like Demeko Nesbitt, are few, but very much appreciated.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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