BELIZE CITY, Tues. Apr. 28, 2015–The things we used to do when we were young.
Young men walking the streets today, and seeing that greying brother struggling to walk with the aid of two hand crutches, couldn’t begin to imagine the super athletic talent that he once was, a few short years ago.
Youth is a passing thing, and the young often err in thinking that they have a claim on it. Like life, it is a gift, and we’re all only passing through. Enjoy, nurture, cherish the time and the blessing of youth.
Hogman, the fighting spirit that he has, is determined to walk again, after suffering a stroke back in 2009 in L.A. He returned to Belize in June of last year to attend the funeral of his mother, and decided to remain in the Jewel, as the climate was considered better for his recovery.
I recall a pre-season game playing for the Charger football team back in 1977. Though the game was officially still amateur, Charger’s sponsor/management had managed to lure Hogman over as our “big striker.” I played center midfield, and we were on a bus ride to Benque Viejo where we would play against a little Verdes team. This was a few years before Verdes became a power house with Erwin Contreras and company. Hogman was not on the bus with us when we left town that Sunday morning. He was coming from Dangriga, and he caught up with us somewhere between Belize City and Belmopan; and from the looks of things, he had spent a hectic Saturday night, towel across his shoulder, and all.
When we took the field in Benque, we were amazed at the great passing game the little Benquenos were putting together. Ours was a revamped squad, and so a lot of fine tuning would be necessary to be ready for the season opener. All I can recall is that only one thing seemed to work; give the ball to Hogman, and let him “cut loose.” Hogman could really kick a football, with both feet, and not sailing wild either. His blasts were powerful, low, sometimes rising a little, but seldom over the goal; and they were very hard. I think the sheer power of his missiles unsettled our opponents, especially their goalie. I cannot think of any player right now in our semipro league that can kick a football as good and as hard as Hogman could with both feet.
Hogman stayed with us for that season. He never complained or grumbled with anyone on the team; and he got the job done, which was about scoring goals. In the final game of the 77-78 season, Chito’s jumped us, 1-nil; but a Hogman bullet knotted things up for us at 1-1. The game ended up, 3-3, which allowed Chito’s to win the season, and Charger settled for a second consecutive second place finish. Hogman had been a champion the previoius year with White Label; now a sub-champion with Charger. (He also picked up quite a few more “pieces of iron” (trophies) along the way, with Royal Rentals, Belikin, and Duurly’s, before migrating to the U.S. in 1994.)
Hogman left for greener pastures after that one year, but while he was with Charger, he was a loyal and dedicated teammate every step of the way, and forever a brother to all of us.
On Friday, Labor Day, “Mango” White and the Third World Club are spearheading a drive to raise funds to aid in the weekly physiotherapy for Hogman. They are hosting a “Wayne Hogman Olivera Day” at the Third World field next to St. Martin’s. At 9:30 a.m. there will be some U-15 games; then at 1:30 p.m. the start of a few Over-40 matches, featuring Plaza, Third World, Culture Yabra, All Stars and others.
All proceeds of the event are in support of Hogman. If you want to assist in any way, you can contact Anthony “Mango” White at 605-1218, or talk to Hogman directly at 662-5310.