I’ve read with much pleasure the From The Publisher column concerning basketball in the 70’s and 80’s at Birds Isle, and the early days at the Civic Centre.
I remember growing up as a little boy in the 70’s and 80’s, going to these games with my mom. She was a hard Belikin Wheels fan; those games used to be exciting. I got to see the last of the games being played at St Ignatius. I clearly can remember the Old Parr team and Baygon, with Butty Neal and the late, great Wilton Cumberbatch in action.
Being a student at St. Ignatius, we used to be the envy of other primary schools, because most of the basketball games were being played on our turf. The best part of basketball was when Clinton Pulu Lightburn came on the scene with Home Builders at Birds Isle. I remember those heated games with his old team Belikin Wheels, Carnation and Old Parr or Grand Marnier. Pulu took basketball to another level and I think this guy, along with Norman Nunez in football, needs to get the highest award of distinction in sports.
In fact, Pulu was so well-respected and liked that when you would go to play on a junior team, everybody wanted to wear No. 11, because that was Pulu’s number. I mentioned to someone the other day that if you left Belize in the early 80’s and went to live in the States and came back today, you would be shocked that basketball is still being played where you left it over 30 years ago.
What a shame.