Lawyer Walker wins a Silver Medal
Second in a five part series.
In terms of discipline, Lawyer Walker did not change gears; she was insolent and feisty.
There was, probably just a handful of people, who saw just more than her bad habits: one such person was the coach for her school’s athletic team.
“For sure I wanted to run because I used to hear about Merlene Ottey, that great Jamaican sprinter on the radio running, And, I used to say, growing up, I want to win races like Merlene Ottey. You couldn’t get that out of my head. This winning feeling. So, at school, which was Bybrook All-Age, I was ready to run. The coach would say to us, get it right and so I never hesitate.”
Walker Daughter, as they would refer to her, wasn’t a sprinter and for each 100 metres race, she would be among the last lot.
“I wasn’t really ashamed, but a feel a way knowing so many came in ahead of me. But, my coach knew best and selected me for the 800 and 1500 metres at school. Now, this little mawga girl(slim in body) found her grove for I had the stamina to last long. I think it was the corn meal porridge which had rich cow’s milk. We had a good coach who was a professional. He ensured that we eat right and rest.”
Having won for her school, Lawyer Walker was selected to compete for her parish. She won and the next hurdle was the national level.
“Being a sabbath worshipper my parents ruled out Saturdays for training. So, it was left to Sundays and weekdays. I would walk from Bybrook to Buff Bay – a distance of nine miles to training. Returning was not so hard as I could get a bus to reach home pretty early, which was about 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon.”
“We didn’t have much traffic on the road then and our community was surrounded by shrubs. But, for someone to hurt us was the farthest thing from our minds. As children, we didn’t expect anyone to hurt us then, and I don’t believe our parents harbour those thoughts.”
“The stadium then, was different from what it is now, as over the years governments have been improving the facilities to make it close to international standard.”
“The coach drilled in my head the strategies for outperforming my competitors. He said, just go out there for the first 600 metres and cruise. Don’t allow the pack to leave you far behind. Save your best for the last 200 meters when you power the pack.”
“I got lane six of eight lanes. Halfway through I was in fourth place. Then came the last 200 meters. The crowd was revving up the excitement as we turn into the straight. My big sister was among the jubilants.”
“It was a very stiff competition as there was one girl ahead of me. She was really good because as fast as I am. I couldn’t catch up on her. I took the silver medal.”
My sister was cheering and when I reached home everyone was excited, including my father. A lot of people felt there was a positive change in my attitude as they felt I was getting mature.”
“There was a big party at my school to ring in our achievements. Dad had warned me not to dance. But, a leopard does not change his spots easily. I put down a piece a dancing, and dad’s eyes almost pop out of his head.”
Next is part Three. Christmas with the Walker Family.
(Photos courtesy of Denniese Ann Walker)