Mar 10, 2013 Sports
Colin E. H. Croft
I am 60 this week, so let us indulge! Have a brandy on me! Cheers!
I often wondered if, born on “Ides of March” – March 15 – when Julius Caesar was butchered by his so-called friends, was an omen!
Despite severe external stimuli, with great efforts to destroy me, personally and professionally, I am still here, fully vertical and very well, planning 60 more! I feel like Count Dracula, “un-dead-able”! Hah! Hah!
‘Colin Everton Hunte’, was named for England’s (Sir) Colin Cowdrey, West Indies’ (Sir) Everton Weekes and (Sir) Conrad Hunte, all world-class batsmen, so I had to become a world-class fast bowler!
I even heard that my great-great-grandfather was a native Wapishiana Indian!
Adriel “Woody” Richard, WICB Media Manager, commented during WI’s 2012 England tour, when (Sir) Vivian Richards also celebrated his 60th: “Crofty, I cannot imagine you guys being 60. I remember your team’s great cricketing exploits as it was yesterday. Where did that time go?”
I have no idea how I got here either! God is great!
1953 was a good year! Sylvia Celestine, 41; strong girl; had me – No. 4 and last – no-one else present!
Joseph Stalin died after exterminating millions. (Sir) Everton, (Sir) Frank Worrell and (Sir) Clyde Walcott made hundreds v India. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor – Queen Elizabeth II – was crowned.
I share a birthday with General Andrew Jackson, USA’s 7th President, and gorgeous actress Eva Longoria!
1963 to 1973 was formative, industrious and sad!
1959 to 1966, I attended Lancaster Government School, bordering Unity Village, which produced Shiv Chanderpaul. I played soccer and cricket – goal-keeper and wicket-keeper; true – and ran relays!
I remember John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.
1966, magic happened, since my parents made $50 per month, total. I attended Central High School, where, another omen, the father of the first student to speak to me – Claude Merriman Jr. – owned a funeral home!
Known as “Big 12”, I even became a Prefect, representing at soccer, table tennis, athletics and cricket. I am probably unique, never having a girl-friend in high school over five years, despite sporting and educational progress, so gangly I was!
1970 and 1971 – Played cricket for Guyana’s Youth, and had my first flight ever – what joy – to Jamaica, via Trinidad & Tobago, in a beautiful BOAC VC-10, starting aviation fever!
1971 – First job, aged 18, thanks to CHS’s Principal “Rudy” Luck, teaching Mathematics at Commenius Moravian School, and, with Michael Jackson-type “Afro”, spent two years escaping compromises from marauding 15 and 16 year old females!
Winston Hunter, Malcolm Harris, Rudy, David Bacchus, “Robbie” Roberts and “Slanty” Rodway made sure that I knew everything mathematical!
1972 – Selected for first 1st Class game v Jamaica. Courtesy of Legend Lance Gibbs and Guyana Chronicle’s Godfrey Wray, I also went to Warwickshire CCC, on three-month training course; on cricket’s way!
1973 to 1983 was really stunning!
1973 confirmed my greatest love – aviation – becoming Assistant Air Traffic Controller, then even played soccer for Guyana’s Colts v Brazil in 1974!
I am greatly obliged to Aviation Officers Ronald Lee-Own, Bill Mahaboob, Geoffrey “Reds” Murray, Tony Moore, Robert Roberts, Aubrey Alexander, Cuthbert Ferdinand, Caribbean Airlines pilot Clinton Riley, Guyana Airways pilot Astil Paul and GDF pilot Philip Payne for massive inspiration along aviation’s way!
1975 – I won everything in T&T with Paragon SC, while on navigation scholarship. Ron Faria, Prince Bartholemew and “Joey” Carew convinced me that I would play for West Indies!
1977 – Test debut – 33 wickets, five Tests – v Pakistan; “Man of the Series”. My eventual overall Test returns were quite good – 27 Tests, 125 wickets, 23.30.
Aviation and cricket too – “Bomber Croft” became a reality!
1978, I met Lynette – tremendous happiness – who ruled my heart. “Professor” Colin Lee, born 1980, ruled us both! She left in 1986.
By 1979, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” – Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Colin Croft and Joel Garner – dominated, West Indies easily winning World Cup 1979! 1980 – 1982, I was No. 1 bowler in the world.
1983 to 1993 needed focus.
I went to South Africa, possibly to be addressed later, and migrated to USA, for schooling and political reasons.
In 1989, “Queen Nefertiti” – Shannon Renee – courtesy of spouse and love No. 2, Gail, arrived.
I eventually returned to T&T in 1992, with tremendous hope, on promises from No. 2, with Commercial Pilot’s License, Teacher’s Certificate, and Mechanical Engineering degree, working for Air Caribbean and Mustique Airways. She lied!
1993 saw advent to Sports Journalism, to present time, with travels throughout the cricket world!
2003 – 2013 has been strange, the evolution continuing.
I worked for Tobago Express/Caribbean Airlines, UWI as SPEC’s first Facility Manager, and Guardian Media, even driving, in 2012, commercially for Walt Disney’s Corporation, while being falsely accused of so much. I am still here!
Best friends Butch Savory and Jimmy Harewood always remind me: “Everton, I do not know anyone who had your luck, who still somehow managed, miraculously, to survive and continue on so very well!”
What a life indeed! Anything is very possible for my next 60, anywhere! Enjoy!
Editor’s note: Happy birthday from the boys at Kaieteur Sport Crofty. May God bless you with that next 60. Cheers Enjoy.
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