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SPOTLIGHT ON AN OUTSTANDING GEORGIAN
An interview with old boy Bunny Goodison, St.GCOB Newsletter ( Jun. 85 )
~ by Charles Williams
Outstanding old boy of St. George's College
Recipient of the Carreras Sports Foundation Award for his contribution to the development of sports and services to the youth of All Saints and Jones Town communities.
Captain of St.George's College Old Boys Division I Football Team.
Vice Captain Senior Cup Cricket Team.
Manning Cup Football Coach. Vice President,. KSAFA.
Member, Jamaica Cricket Board of Control.
Member, Table Tennis Association Executive.
Bunny graduated from George's in 1958. He worked during the following 14 years at Aguilars Sports Store, leaving there in 1981 as Sales and Promotions Manager. During that time he was also Owner/Operator of the famous Soul Shack Disco. His adult years were marked by distinguished service to Sports, the Old Boys Association and to many communities especially West Kingston and Jones Town, and he served as Club Captain for sports at Emmett Park for the Old Boys Association for many years. He is presently Chairman of Trench Town Comprehensive School Board.
He has two (2) sons (St. George's College graduates) and two (2) daughters (Alpha and Wolmers). His younger brother Nigel captained the Manning Team in 1968, and played for Jamaica on tour to Haiti in 1970.
When did you become active in the Old Boys Association?
In 1959, I played for Kensington against St. George's College Old Boys in a Division II match and scored three goals. Trevor Graham came up and said how could I be a George's old boy and beat up my old school like that. He and others put me under severe pressure to join and play for St. George's College Old Boys although my preference was to play for Boys Town as I consider myself a West Kingston person, plus I had team mates from Kensington who had returned to Boys Town.
Why was that?
Most of my friends were from West Kingston and that's where I had sharpened
whatever skills I possessed in cricket and soccer even while I was a student at
St. George's College. In fact, I never played Sunlight or Manning Cup for
Why? I experienced certain class and social pressures while at George's and I felt far more comfortable in the environment at Kensington and All Saints. At that time, George's was a very elitist school, especially in terms of the class back-ground and attitudes of students also the Administrative views were biased towards these students. It was a struggle for my family to even pay the fees much more to buy football boots!. But I remember playing against many of these Manning Cup stars, namely Anthony Hill and Sydney Bartlett in Youth Club competitions and doing quite well.
I must say that the late Father Roy Campbell who was Sports Master at George's then, a wonderful human being, always made us feel comfortable and prevented any undue tension because of his firmness and sensitivity. Definitely, St. George's College was the school where every youngster, including myself, wanted to attend because of its academic excellence and its great tradition in Sports, especially football.
What do you see as the advantages or disadvantages of your George's years?
In retrospect, I had some rewarding times there. I am honored to have served and played for the Old Boys Association. In fact, I became really known as a sportsman in Jamaica by playing for the Old Boys Association with famous names like Ken East, Karl Largie, Aubrey Lowe, Frankie Lewis etc. In fact, East and Largie were on a West Indian Football Team that toured England.
Also Soul Shack came into being commercially in 1964 at Emmett Park. The Old Boys had a Fund Raising Dance, using another disco, which was not successful. People who knew me said my sounds were much better, so I came with my little "house sounds" at the next venture. We had over 700 people at Emmett Park that night and Soul Shack has been on the road ever since, accumulating a number of awards.
I believe that the presence of the many Jesuits had a positive and beneficial effect on the students even though in retrospect we were too submissive and acquiescent. We tended to treat them like deity when they really were just humans with weaknesses which manifested itself so often, some now refer to current students as undisciplined but I don't necessarily subscribe to this notion, they are just more assertive and inquisitive.
In 1980, the Old Boys Association was re-organized. You never participated fully. Why?
I was very disappointed with the direction of the new Old Boys Association. We had a lot of new faces many of whom actively destroyed the old structure as we knew it at Emmet Park. It was as if they wanted to close the book on our glorious past. Second, the new association now focused mainly on financial assistance to school at the exclusion of most of the reasons why I was a member of the Old Boys Association. So while they did some good, it ran against my grain. For example, I remember Eric "Russian" Reid, our dressing room attendant for over 30 years at St. George's College Old Boy's Association in charge of equipment, cleaning gears, patching balls etc. -- he was the soul of the Old Boys. But when he died, I was distraut that we could not find six pall bearers at Cathedral, so poor was the attendance of Old Boys and Students. In addition, Joseph Sanguinetti was hustled out as coach in a shameful and shabby manner after many years of dedicated service without a proper thank you or reasonable explanation.
What about the future?
I have not attended a single Manning Cup Match in the last five years in principle. I have been to Winchester Park and played in a few matches (old boys versus present boys) and still monitor the Old Boys Association developments keenly and am still in touch with many old boys -- I hope to be at the next old boys General Meeting -- I have been invited by Ossie Tai to serve on a sports Development Committee for St. George's College to formulate development programs for sports in the school and I have agreed.
Also, I am trying desperately to assist Trench Town Comprehensive. There is none of the glitter or eminence of St.George's College but the needs are greater and the situation much more desperate, especially the deprivation of students and the community. I t is to George's credit that an old boy is serving in an area where many persons do not even walk, but this is part of my contribution as a Georgian.
Lastly, I wish the Old Boys would grow even more and perhaps reopen the club house or be involved in organized sports competitions once more so that old boys may come together socially again. The Old Boys need a meeting place, and the Old Boys Association and School also have to become more involved in outreach programs with adjoining communities such as Woodford Park which can benefit school, students and the adjoining communities.
- St. George's College Old Boys Association
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