From Globe Yard to the Australia Rugby League… Sky is the limit for KEVIN MCKENZIE
The name Kevin McKenzie is synonymous with rugby in Guyana for just about 12 years. He spent a greater part of his life living with his mum and seven siblings atop the front apartment of the infamous Globe Yard in Waterloo Street. Yes his life was froth with challenges as a student of St Georges High that could have easily caused a youth to bow to the pressures of the easy way out, criminal influences.
With Friends he dodged cars to play street ball like any average ‘ghetto kid’ but his is a story of inspiration, determination and ‘stick to-it-tiveness’ that has landed him smack in the middle of what some can only dream of, halfway across the world… and as they say he’s on his way.
As a hyper teenager at youth camp in the National Park, he engaged in all sporting disciplines such as cricket and football.
Then a Coach by the name or Laurie Adonis spotted the diamond in the rough and took him under his wing coaching him through the under 16 and under 18s. Reminiscently McKenzie recalls Adonis statement to him, “Boy why yah wasting your size playing cricket and football fuh…” McKenzie was advised to “…come out and try rugby one day and I went and since then I never went back and play cricket and football.”
As a sports ambassador, he and team represented Guyana well in the Caribbean and in some other parts of the world. “On multiple occasions I played Barbados, Trinidad, St Vincent, The Cayman Islands, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, India and England,” he recalls. These days he’s far, far away in the land down under (Australia, Caloundra; Queensland) married, doing business and playing Rugby in the league.
As he sits with his wife Christine, proudly smiling close-by the CEO of ‘Kevin McKenzie Massage spas, beauty and personal Care Therapy’ believes that his best years are still ahead in the sport.
“I love playing rugby and hanging out with friends and meeting new people as well as taking a few social drinks sometimes but I don’t smoke and I like going out dancing.”
With a built kind of like a buffalo as compared to the average 32 year old in Guyana, McKenzie says, “Rugby is my life, and yeah I’m still playing as I’ve done not just for my homeland but for the West Indies team also.” “Christine”, he says, “has answered my life long quest to know what love is and that’s why I married her.”
The two got married earlier this year and while they ultimately will have a few Kevin’s running around the house that’s not the focus at this time.
Years ago McKenzie moved to the Twin Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to play the sport at a higher standard and that’s when the opportunity came for him to play in Ireland. In his words Guyana is his home and he will always be grateful for her blessings but his dream is to play the sport at the highest standard. This he knew would not be possible if he remained in Guyana.
Last year he started to play in the Rugby league and has been doing so for just over a year. “I’m hoping to break into the National Rugby League soon as that is the highest standard.” But he would be elated “just to make it to the NRL which is the National Rugby League.”
Having Played in England and Ireland, McKenzie who has settled into marriage life in Australia remains resolute: “I still wanna play the highest standard here in Australia so that’s what I’m working hard on now.” He’s contracted to the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles Club in Australia and plays at the International Rugby Board 7s (IRB rugby 7s) level. (Mondale Smith)