Fred Sturrup is currently out of the country, and during this time, The Nassau Guardian will feature a few of his Sports Scope columns from the past. His regular columns will return on Saturday, August 31.
It’s no easy task, making the selection for the National Sports Hall of Fame.
The sports ministry is tasked with developing long and short lists for the grand night in the ballroom at Government House when the inductees are officially, with much fanfare, made a part of our Bahamian history.
Some with National Hall of Fame caliber resumés have had to wait for their moment in time. Through the years, many, quite worthy, have been bypassed for this highest sports honor in the land, and still sit outside of the hallowed sports hall of elite personnel.
One such is Alfred “Ali” Culmer, also known fondly as “Shank” by family and close friends. For more than 20 years, from the 1970s into the decade of the 2000s, Culmer was one of the finest softball mentors in the world. He coached and managed at the highest level of the game, regional and international, inclusive of the 1980 International Softball Federation’s (ISF) World Championships.
Culmer, as a result of his prominence in world softball, was inducted into the ISF Hall of Fame in 2012. That same honor on the national scene, has eluded him however. Here at home, one could make the argument that no other has been as successful a driving force as was Culmer, in women’s softball.
He was the backbone of the legendary Holiday Inn/Colina Crows franchise. On 13 occasions, he led his stalwart ladies into national championship competitions and succeeded each time. Culmer became a foremost inspiration in women’s softball virtually overnight. One day, he was an unknown entity and then suddenly, he was this person who set the bar incredibly high with his Lady Crows.
They were unbeatable, took no prisoners, and crafted a dynasty beyond any of the quality teams from all sports disciplines in the country.
Think about the New York Yankees of baseball and their 27 Word Series titles, 40 pennants and 18 division titles. Ponder for a moment, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angels Lakers with 17 and 16 National Basketball Association (NBA) Championships respectively; the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots with six National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl titles; the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers with five, and you get the picture of the dominance orchestrated by Culmer with his mighty Lady Crows.
Throughout it all, he remained modest, dignified and relatively unassuming. In fact, he kind of slipped under the radar when he phased out of frontline sports administration. Perhaps Culmer not being connected to the sports scene for a goodly number of years now led to the oversight of the sports ministry which is responsible for coordinating the National Hall of Fame program.
Without a doubt though, one Alfred “Ali” Culmer, a.k.a. “Shank”, is worthy of being inducted into The Bahamas’ National Sports Hall of Fame. Hopefully, he will get the call to be enshrined this coming November.
Continued best wishes “Shank”!
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