Sports

Nairn’s impact on national stadium substantive, befitting his style

The following is a Sports Scope special on the passing on former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Archie Nairn.

Another of our noble sons has departed this life, for eternity.

The Reverend Archie Nairn died two weeks ago, in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

It was during the very early 1980s that I first began interacting with the then Commissioner Archie Nairn. He was posted in North Eleuthera, and I was producing my Family Island News column for The Nassau Guardian at the time. I had communicated with him previously and he committed to being my guide for the two days I spent interviewing island stalwarts and business operators.

I therefore was provided a first-hand opportunity to behold a magnificent individual; one quite unassuming but efficient, productive and blessed with great communicative skills which enabled him to network effectively with all and sundry.

In a nutshell, he was a master at his role. As it turned out, the San Salvador native proved, for 43 years of civil service, to be a cut above most of his peers, with a style that ruffled no feathers, that brought a high level of understanding to discussions and that, most often, resulted in solutions.

In various positions, whether national road traffic controller, undersecretary, or permanent secretary, Nairn brought an acute sense of levelheadedness to internal department issues and national matters that he had to address in his particular civil service capacity. There he was, around the closing of the first decade after the new millennium began, positioned as the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

It was at a time when the new national stadium, a gift from the People’s Republic of China, was being constructed. The meetings between the Bahamian and Chinese technical teams were sometimes contentious, and the language and building code barriers presented challenges and caused delays.

There was a great need for a steadying influence in planning meetings, onsite sessions and inspections. Nairn fitted the bill. However, other than dealing with the work teams engaged by the government of The Bahamas and their Chinese counterparts, there were also the leaders of the national sporting fraternity, especially softball and baseball.

The Andre Rodgers Stadium (baseball) and the Churchill Tener-Knowles Stadium (softball) had been broken down during the process of preparing for the new stadium and its large-area undertakings.

Baseball thus lost its historic facility, the one gifted to the Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA), the parent body for the sport. Likewise, softball’s main competitive venue was no more. That left Nairn to field many questions from leaders of those two core disciplines, as to the future of their respective development programs, with their main centers of activities no longer in existence.

Nairn, almost on a daily basis, had to navigate sensitive and passionate discussions without having any firm pledges from the government, other than that new baseball and softball venues would be incorporated in the grand new national stadium plan.

It was a difficult time for those involved with baseball and softball. In fact, the loss of the Andre Rodgers Stadium badly impacted baseball on the capital island of New Providence, and the BBA became almost dormant, a sad reflection of a parent sports body. Softball was challenged as well, but because, unlike baseball, it was unified, the various leaders of all leagues were proactive and maintained an appreciable vibrancy for the sport.

It was Nairn’s task to encourage those within the baseball and softball fraternities, and to be that medium of understanding who brought balance, somehow, to the situation. At the same time, almost around the clock, he had to deal with the new national stadium’s matters. The collective job was challenging, but he was that balm of Gilead who brought calm to the many different discussions he had to be a part of.

In 2014, Nairn left the civil service and later retired and made his residence in Freeport with his devoted wife, the former Pauline Cooper. They both became ordained ministers at Upper Zion Baptist Church, in Pinder’s Point, Grand Bahama. Nairn gave his church environment, and Grand Bahama in general, vital service until he quietly slipped away, in a fashion befitting his nature.

I extend condolences to the Reverend Pauline Nairn and the rest of the immediate family. Today, I close Sports Scope with a few excerpts from a most compelling Rev. Archie Nairn sermon, preached in June of this year.

Entitled “Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, the Clock is Ticking”, portions of the sermon follow:

“Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. Are we spreading the Gospel today, when there is time? Tick-tock, tick-tock, the clock is ticking. Seize the day. We cannot wait for tomorrow.

“We do not know when this earthly existence will end for us. Tick-tock, tick-tock, the clock is ticking. The time we are allotted by God – years, months, days, hours, minutes – are gifts from God, and at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will give an account as to how we used our time and our resources.

“So, what are we doing with our time today? Are you using it to honor God and to serve others? Are you using it to build up, or to tear down? Are you using it for earthly pleasures, or to save souls for the kingdom? Yes, you are accountable for how you invest the time and resources God has given to you. Tick-tock, tick-tock, the clock is ticking.”

Farewell, Reverend Archie Nairn. May your soul forever rest in peace.

• 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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