Life is about choices and for many, their choices determine the future.
One such person, who had choices made for him, Dave Lamy, with the untimely passing of Raffie Knowles, as he told it, suddenly found himself in the forefront of T&T Sports over 40 years ago. This very humble man firmly accomplished all the great habits and tenure of a sports broadcaster into one that is immeasurable.
When the news broke on his death, there was just an emptiness that permeated all around many in the horse racing circles, in particular, on Breeders Cup which took place last Friday.
When you met Dave, whether at the height of his career or nearing the end of his great legacy, there was no change in his approach and his nature, he was always willing to extend a hand, a careful thought, a calculated opinion and sometimes with me a good laugh on Boxing Day, as he spoke about the glory days of his favourite sport–horse racing.
Dave was not a man of great pretence, like so many in the media in this country, instead, his acclaim and recognition was borne out by the body of work, he encapsulated. Whether it was an Olympic Games or a World Cup, Dave had travelled the world with all of T&T's leading sporting personalities and returned the very same man. There was nothing, he would tell me better than the friendships that he made during his career and the trust and honest discussion, he would have with many in sports.
Sometimes, when we spoke, especially on a Boxing Day racing (this will be the first one in more than 15 years that I will not speak with him in the flesh on December 26), he would talk to me about all the characters he had met and I had to shake his hand on so many occasions, for the patience and kind-hearted spirit he clearly demonstrated in dealing with some persons.
I recall he told me on more than one occasion: "Andre, I know it is hard but you have to just have patience with some people, it is just the way they are".
His patience and listening ear is what let him stand, head and shoulders, above the rest.
The fact that he listened to isports on i95.5fm was revealing to me; the fact, that he told me that I only invited him on six occasions to the show, also revealed to me, that he was still good at calling it like it was in his one way, no aggression, no animosity, just truthful. I recall telling him it was seven times but he insists it was six and he had the records so I gave him “win” and moved on to talk about Music Maestro or Signal Alert or Whisper Light.
Growing up with my father Errol and my grandmother Drusilla loving horse racing so much, both my brother Nigel and I heard Dave's commentary all through the years and enjoyed every moment of it, even when we lost a bet or two or three. He also did football, hockey and cricket commentary at times for many media houses.
At a time when a lot of the younger sports media came to the forefront, it was sad to observe that apart from Tony Harford, Bernard Pantin, Tony Dennison, Eddie Arneaud, Ruskin Mark and Roger Sant, there appeared to be not many others interested in what Dave had to say.
His unrivalled work with the Sports Foundation is not ever going to be replaceable, as he knew all sports, those that have followed him are limited by their lack of such all-around knowledge, which may not entirely be their fault as specialists have become the normal destination in these times.
I remember Dave telling me, that every afternoon when he went home, he would listen to the BBC and get other sports information overnight by contacts because when he walked down the street or cycled to work the next day, everyone would ask him a score and expect him to know. These days, with the Internet and social media, many of our sports media just check their phones for updates and never experience the real energy of the sports.
As I have mentioned, they have lost the human touch, that Dave explained to me was the most important and tangible aspect of any proper journalist. When the athlete can put a face to a name, it helps you in communication and Dave’s life and his death on Friday. Is but a microcosm of his endearment because on Friday night, everyone I asked to say a few words on Dave, responded in the positive, it was both heartwarming and pleasing.
From Ato Boldon, Shaka Hislop, Stephanie Power, Gene Samuel, Leonson Lewis, Michael Phillips among the sportsmen and sportswomen. Then there were the administrators, Joseph Hadeed, Marilyn Gordon, Manohar Ramsaran, Ken Butcher, Douglas Camacho, David John Williams, Dr Keith Clifford and Brian Lewis.
As I sat there listening to all the stories on his life and the fact that this country will be poorer for his departure, it hurts to know, that in the next few days, maybe seven at most, this country will forget Dave Lamy and his contribution because generally, we are not a caring people. If Dave was involved in trouble in bacchanal, we would be discussing him for weeks, for months, dare I say for years?
The reality is that Dave was a good man and most importantly, he loved his job in sports, not because of money or fame, but as he described it: "For what he was able to witness, enjoy and report to his people on the success of this country, Sport, Andre, is the greatest unifier but I know you know that already".
Dave forged some great partnerships with Tony Williams in horse racing and then with Sedley Joseph in football. It was a pleasure to listen to it all. Dave appreciated the assistance during his career, of the support and patriotism from Jack Warner.
Perhaps, I am getting older but there is now a massive space in terms of knowledge and wisdom left in the sporting arena, which cannot be filled and sadly, it would appear that none of us ever took the time to place all of Dave’s achievements and success together. For that, I am even sadder and must shoulder the blame as well.
Dave was 83 years old, I am told at his time of passing and long may his memory remain, certainly, those in horse racing can name the media area after him. It is the least that can happen as for elsewhere in the sporting arena, let us pray that good sense will prevail and something meaningful will be forthcoming.
I just hope and pray that his family and close friends appreciate what he means to a lot of us.
For me, "Boxing Day at the Races" on the top floor, in the far extreme right corner seating area will not be the same for many (Nigel Baptiste, Leonard Robertson, Peter Samuel, Gary Nunes, Tansley Thompson, Neil Ramatali, Ray Holman and Hakim Mohammed) as well as including the loyal team of media specialists like Tony Salandy and Winston Sobers who like myself spent the day enjoying the sports talk sometimes more than the horse racing.
Dave Lamy's funeral will be on Monday at Trinity Cathedral at 10 am.
Rest in peace Dave Lamy, you were one of a kind.