If this ‘Grandstand’ could talk! ‘Raa…ti…dixxx’!!! It would tell a lot of tings…as dem say…story would come to question!???!!!
But…we will keep it clean and historic. The ‘Grandstand’ provided a shady panoramic view of the baseball field, soccer field and the racing track. Scores of athletes performed on these fields as little league, junior league and semi-professional athletes. Arguably Rod ‘Cline’ Carew is the most famous ‘Gyambo’ athlete that grew up playing on these fields. Undoubtedly, he is the most universally accomplished ‘Gyambo’ athlete embraced as he has been by the Panamanian, U.S. citizens and all baseball aficionados in the world, as one of the best hitters that ever played the game. Less known is the fact that he grew up and was nurtured playing baseball in front of the ‘Gyambo’ spectators that would gather in these bleachers to watch him and many other local athletes play the game and continually hone their skills. If you are a ‘‘Gyambo’’ visitor to this site and old enough… you might remember seeing Earl Holder, Vibert Clark, Phillip Malcom Sr., Phillip Malcom Jr, Wilburt”Scooter” Holder, Aubrey (Hog) Baxter, Errol Sainten, Franklin”Reds” Walters, Ruperto “Bankhead” Toppin, Robert”Bobby” Prescott, Jose Stennett, Rennie Stennett, Fulo Pacheco and many other ‘Gyambo’ baseball athletes perform their best in games played on this field.

And then there were the track and field personalities and events that made the Gyambo track “the place to compete”. During the earlier years, some of the noteworthy runners were, Phillip Malcolm Sr., Arthur Perkins, Sidney ” Proka” Dryden, Theophilus “T” Peterkin, Frederick Myrie, Zellica Thorne , Sylvia Daniels and others. ( Names Please ). Then we saw Chubby Malcolm, the Ramsey sisters, the Dunn sisters, Delphina Grant, Reva Richards, Delcita Oakley, Jean Holmes and many others develop their prowess as track and field athletes that would represent the country at many international competition events. In the late fifties, early sixties no one could tell us Gyamboans that Wiggles McFarlane was not the precursor to Hussein Bolt…the fastest sprinter in the world second only to Ranny Sealy.
Any of compilation of ‘granstand’ stories would be incomplete without acknowledging the role and legacy of Mr. French. He incubated athletes and encouraged us to be the best that we could be despite our natural physical strengths and limitations. He was the navigator, negotiator, the ombudsman that negotiated the ‘permission’ to use the fields for all the athletic activities (track and field, soccer, archery, boxing, volley ball, cricket, swimming, weight lifting, and yes quadrille dancing among others) that marked the annual ‘seasons’ of our lives, and provided context for personal and professional development and character.
Any resident of Gyambo circa 1945-1975 could tell promethean stories of sports competitions played on these fields and witnessed from the ‘grandstand’. Can you remember one? If so please share it with us in the ‘open space/segment’. And please remember we want to hear ‘Grandstand’ stories that happened in the ‘day time”

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Reva Richards Marcellin

    The “old grandstand” was where not most, but all the athletic activities took place. Although looking at it now, it appears so small, back then it was our grandstand – what is now referred to as “bleachers” in today’s idiom. In those “days”, this single field baseball diamond was the in thing for athletes and upcoming pros. The field next to the gym served as our “practice” ball field. Mr. French (God rest his soul), made everything possible for children to have an environment that would enable them to be where they could and would be supervised. He ensured that if you had even an “ounce” of coordination for any sport, that he would be there to help you develop it. He was the one person that truly devoted his life to change the status quo for many of us. Back then, not only sports enthusiasts were at the ball field, but spectators abound as well to cheer on all of Santa Cruz’ teams who participated in these legendary sports. From the ball field, we journeyed to the GYM, where intramural sports were the “in thing” for us growing up. What a time, what a time I had pursuing all the sports activities that I learned to enjoy in the company of some of our mature parents: Zelica, Ruthie, Evelyn, etc.

    Even thou we did not know how fortunate we were then, to have this exposure, we had, or I had the best time of my life playing sports. One of the highlights for me then, was the opportunity we experienced in playing a soft ball team from Jamaica, West Indies in a night game at the Panama Stadium back in the 60’s. This “village”, took care of its own… This village nurtured… This village prayed… This village of Santa Cruz was where we first learned about “FAMILY”.

  2. Temi Malcolm

    Hi,

    You have covered my whole family in this article. I would love to get in touch with you as so much of our history has been lost with the Malcolm’s passing on. I am the granddaughter of Philip Malcolm sr.

  3. Reva Richards Marcellin

    Wow! I am excited as well as pleased after all these years to connect with a family member and especially the granddaughter of Phillip and Ruthie Malcolm. Your mother “Chubby” was known very well for her excellence in just about every sport; grand aunt/uncle Mavis and Jack Grant (Bldg. 305) were close friends of my father Clyde. I have fond memories of your uncle “Tito”, because my mother (Dinah Richards) was his babysitter when he was a toddler. In fact, I played softball with your mother AND grandmother Ruthie on the Gamboa “TAT” Softball Team, and also remember the wonderful time playing basketball/ volleyball intramural sports with “Chubby” and other athletes during the 50’s. Would be delighted to communicate with you about your beloved family. You can obtain my address/phone # from a committee member.

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