Still in celebration mode after an awesome season in which they won five titles, including one in Orlando, Florida, the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins senior boys basketball team was treated to a ship tour, lunch and fun day on one of the world’s largest cruise liners, Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, yesterday.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Fox Hill Shonel Ferguson, in whose constituency Doris Johnson Senior High School lies, came up with the idea of having the boys explore the ship, and the local representative for Royal Caribbean, Diane Phillips, facilitated the journey. The team was thrilled to be a part of the experience, most of them experiencing some of the amenities of a cruise ship for the first time.
“They are wonderful champions and deserving of a treat like this,” said Ferguson yesterday. “They won five championships this year, and the only major one they lost was the nationals in Freeport, and they assured me that they are going for that next year. They’ve worked so hard and done so well so we thought that they deserved a treat like this. Diane Phillips is the representative here in The Bahamas for Royal Caribbean and she made the connection for us. They agreed without any hesitation, and this is how we got here today. They deserve something like this and so much more.”
The Mystic Marlins senior boys won the Agape Christian School Preseason Basketball Tournament, the Providence Christmas Holiday Classic, the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) Basketball Championship and the coveted Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic here in The Bahamas. They also experienced success overseas as they claimed the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Easter Classic in Orlando, Florida, USA.
Their intermediate boys also experienced success this year as they won both the D.W. Davis Preseason Tournament and the Bahamas Scholastic Association (BSA) Postseason Tournament, and finished second in both the Agape Christian School Preseason Tournament and the Fr. Marcian Peters Basketball Classic.
Head Coach Denykco Bowles said that they have been working hard from August, and a day like yesterday was exactly the outing that the boys needed, bonding together in bringing the year to a close.
“The guys put in countless hours and this is something that is rewarding them for all of their hard work,” he said. “We just want to continuously motivate them and let them know that hard work does pay off. We spent long days and long nights at school and on the court and this is a time for them to kick back and relax. I’m sure they definitely appreciate this opportunity.
“This is something that they are going to look back on and relish this moment. For a lot of them, this is their first time experiencing something like this. This is something that will stay with them forever – something that they could tell their kids and their grandchildren about. It is something that we want to continuously build on and let these guys see that hard work pays off.
“We are just enjoying this beautiful atmosphere thanks to Shonel Ferguson, who saw it fit to treat our guys after such a marvelous year in basketball. We are just soaking in this experience and we are truly grateful for it.”
Ferguson, who accompanied the boys on the tour, extended gratitude to Royal Caribbean for agreeing to be such gracious hosts, and also pointed to one of their community projects in Fox Hill.
“This is a huge treat for them and we appreciate that,” she said. “They are really doing something special for this team and for the students of the Doris Johnson High School. They are also doing something special for the community of Fox Hill. They have committed themselves to buying all of the food for 2019 for the Feeding Network that works out of Fox Hill and feeds over 4,000 people every weekend. They are really investing in our children and in The Bahamas and I am eternally grateful to them for that.”
Senior Captain Malachi McCoy, also the head boy at the school, said that it is a thrilling experience. McCoy, who leads by example on and off the court for Doris Johnson, will be attending Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, in the fall. He is expected to major in psychology and his occupational goal is to become a Forensic Scientist.
“I’m ecstatic. It feels good to just come out here and relax. Like that Bible verse says, ‘A man’s gift will make room for him’. I believe that, and that is what is happening now. That is something that I go by,” said McCoy. “It was a tremendous year for us. It was a lot of hard work but it paid off in the end. We were able to win two major championships this year, and it felt good. We knew what we were capable of, and we came out there and executed. Thank God that we were able to achieve what we did. Bonding with these guys is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This is like a brotherhood. I’m really going to miss these guys, but I just have to pray to God that He continues to give us the vision to go out there and pursue our dreams.”
McCoy paid homage to Bowles for guiding them in the right direction this year.
“Coach Bowles is like a father figure to us. It’s not just a Monday to Friday thing. We have activities on the weekends as well, and he spearheads that. We’re always together as a unit and Coach Bowles leads the way,” he said.
Clinton Brennen, a 10th grade point guard who will be relied on heavily next season, said that he is just sucking up the experience and enjoying the fruits of the labor of a championship team.
“It feels real good to be here,” he said. “I’m surprised and thrilled to have this experience. We always have a good time together, and it feels good being here with these guys. I’ve never went on a cruise ship before so that in itself is a great experience for me. We put in a lot of hard work this year – working out at six in the mornings before school everyday and just getting ready for the season. It paid off for us as we won a lot of championships. We’re lucky to succeed as much as we did this season, and we’re looking forward to next year.”
The boys got to meet the captain of the ship, Daniel Budzelewski of Poland, visit most of the ship’s major compartments and even shoot some hoops on the ship’s basketball court before having lunch at one of the upscale restaurants and relaxing on the pool deck. They all agreed that it was an experience that they will never forget.
Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas is one of the world’s largest cruise liners. It has a casino and 11 passenger elevators, two of which are glass-walled, various bars, two swimming pools and a children’s water play area, a poolside movie screen, four hot tubs, a basketball court and a rock climbing wall along with a number of restaurants and shops. The ship has 2,384 double occupancy and 346 triple-quad occupancy cabins.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting
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