SPECIAL TRIBUTE & MEMORIAL!
The sad news of the passing of Noreen Rivers Bodden, the legendary Belizean softball superstar athlete of the “Golden Girls” of softball that won the first gold medal for Belize in the 1974 Central American & Caribbean Games, reached me today Monday, June 17, 2019. Belizeans from many walks of life send their deepest condolences to her family and friends who supported the ailing Belizean softball giant throughout her time of illness.
The article below was produced by yours truly on the legendary Belizean athlete last year after a very candid conversation with her. May we Belizeans at home and abroad remember and celebrate the greatness of Noreen Bodden. Rest in peace, Belizean softball superstar:
THE LEGENDARY NOREEN BODDEN!
BEHIND THE GAME, BEHIND THE PLATE!
Noreen Bodden was one of Belize’s greatest softball catchers of all time, ranked right up there with the legendary Brenda Johnson and the late and legendary Claudette Bosch.
Yours truly’s conversation by telephone last year December, 2018 with Noreen has been one of the missing pieces in the soon-to-be-released documentary film by yours truly: “When We Were Queens.”
Bodden, who now has blossomed into her golden years, was one of the “Golden Girls” of Belizean softball being the winning catcher for Belize’s softball ace pitcher, Linda Lewis, at the Belize national softball team’s historic victory at the 1974 Central American & Caribbean Games in Santa Domingo.
Her reflections on that historic and memorable moment as the team’s catcher enlightened me to the fact that the catcher sees the game from a special perspective behind the plate that cannot be seen by any of the other players.
Like her colleague, the legendary Brenda Johnson remarked on “Belizean Legends” exclusive interview in 2014 as the catcher for the 1969 C.A.S.T. Games that Belize went victorious consecutively, Johnson, like Bodden, would tell the legendary Belizean ace pitcher, Consuelo Dougal, where she wanted the ball to be pitched.
Bodden likewise emphasized that she made the calls to Lewis where she wanted the ball to be pitched. She stated that it is very important that the pitcher and her catcher work as a team in the game because success in winning games is centered around these two orchestrating the plays that the coaches call and were practiced in intense sessions at Rogers Stadium and MCC Grounds in the hot days and and nights under flood lights.
Noreen Bodden, having aged so gracefully, has not forgotten anything about her historic softball career as a Belizean athlete of the 1960s and 70s Belize softball greatness. As she spoke to me with great enthusiasm about my interest in knowing more about that period of Belizean softball greatness, we laughed about the spectacular moments as the student in me and teacher that she was in educating me about how the game of softball was played by the best of her time.
She celebrated in positive compliments her Belizean softball colleagues who had come to play the game with excellence and mentioned that she is the only Belizean softball player who presently lives in Michigan after her migration from Belize in the early 1970s, and that it makes her feel alone and lonely.
She delighted in the news that a documentary film is being produced on that most classic and historic era of sports in Belize and asked me to give her pleasant regards to all of her Belizean softball players friends who are still standing today. She was saddened by those who had passed away, remarking that she hadn’t known of some of their passing because of being so far removed from the mainstream of softball camaraderie. Though Michigan may be somewhat too far for me to have her grace the camera with her precious person at this time, her place in, “When We Were Queens”, will surely be treasured.
As we spoke for hours about the legendary softball period in which she rose to become a superstar athlete in Belize, her extensive memory about the time was sparked by every in-depth question that was hurled at her.
Noreen Bodden is an encyclopedia of Belize’s softball history. She educated me on much of that era that has been documented so passionately by my research over the years. It made me realize that my waiting to release the film has been worth the wait of my trying to document as much as possible those who have lived to tell the eclectic stories for those who could not have been there.
“Belizean Legends” honors this honorable Belizean lady, and asks the question again, why have not those like Noreen Bodden, Consuelo Dougal, and others not been inducted into the International Softball Hall of Fame ISHF) like the many others who have? She expressed her deep hurt at seeing the magazine of the induction of those like Linda Lewis from the 1974 gold medal team, and asked why hadn’t her, who was Lewis’s catcher, been honored likewise?
These are burning questions that will continue to be asked here on “Belizean Legends” until there are some warranted answers. It is most important that this legendary Belizean softball athlete be honored as she approaches her golden years as the golden lady of Belizean softball that she is.
You’re beautiful, Noreen Bodden. Rest in peace.
(Photos through the courtesy of the book, “Sports, Sin & Subversion,” by Evan X Hyde)