Sports — 05 December 2008
The story of the original Garrincha, of Brazil fame, is that his legs were crooked, almost crippled, like a “K”, with one turning in, the other turning out; but it made him able to do some amazing things on the football field, stopping “on a dime”, and changing direction with such abruptness, yet with such composure, that defenders were often rendered helpless. Belize’s Sydney “Buck-it” Bradley of Lake-Collet Survivors is no Garrincha, but his severely bowed legs almost seem crippled, and his ability to navigate on the football field does conjure up visions of the fabled Brazilian. (Belize’s Anthony “Garrincha” Adderley of 70’s fame had no crooked legs, but his small physical size, spectacular football skills and strategic wit nonetheless earned him the famous nickname.)
It is the first time I have seen this “Buck-it” play, and I was immediately caught by the impression that this young man is sort of different. He obviously thinks much of himself, which is not necessarily a bad thing. At half time he took off his shirt and went to hang out with fans on the open rooftop behind the wire fence. He seemed a bit surprised, but cooperative, when I approached him for a picture before he returned to the field for the second half. His high center from the left wing, just about a minute into the game, had drained all the way across goal and landed in the far right pigeon hole for his team’s first and only goal of the match. He played the whole ninety, hard, and demonstrated intensity, poise and intelligence on the football field. I thought this young man had some football quality, though some things needed to be worked on; where had he been hiding all this time? Buck-it’s team, Lake-Collet Survivors drew 1-1 today at the MCC in a not very impressive game against visiting Barrio Fino of Corozal; but, because of him, I would not mind paying my money to see them play again.
I gathered after the game from veteran Survivors player/manager David “Manu” McCaulay, who himself, at over 40, had played the whole ninety, that Buck-it had earlier this season torn up his team shirt after a game in anger. I don’t know the details, but from what I saw, there is love of the game in Buck-it, and it must be channeled in the right direction, for his and all our benefit. Thankfully, Manu had forgiven him his terrible indiscretion and given him another chance, another team shirt; otherwise, I might never have gotten a chance to see him play.
But even if I hadn’t gone to the MCC yesterday afternoon, along with about fifty to seventy-five other faithful souls, I would not have missed out completely on the Buck-it phenomenon. Because, for some time now, I have been observing the development of another little genius of the game, who first caught my eye last year in the U-12 competition at the Hostel Field. The other kids on his champion team Caesar Ridge called him “Buck-it”, and I gathered that he inherited the nickname from his father, who had apparently made a name for himself in various “base” football competitions. We’ve printed the little Buck-it’s picture in the newspaper before, and now we are happy to print the picture of his young father, Sydney “Buck-it” Bradley, Sr., who was in the news for other reasons some months ago – unfairly, many observers thought.