On Saturday, June 18th Saba hosted their second annual All-Sports Banquet. The purpose of the All-Sports Banquet is to celebrate the accomplishments of young athletes and show appreciation to coaches for the time they dedicate. This year the host, the Public Health and Sports Department, wanted to include the parents of the athletes to recognize them for their support.
Kayla Johnson was named Saba’s Female Athlete of the Year and Kimson Guerrier the Male Athlete of the Year. These awards are chosen collectively by all of the coaches for excelling in sports and showing outstanding talent.
Over the past year, Saba sports have had visitors from major Dutch sports organizations—volleyball, soccer, basketball, and base/softball. Teams have hosted and traveled to participate in inter-island competitions, and The Cruyff Court was resurfaced, creating more space for people to be active and play sports. Most recently, Saba made history by participating in the Special Olympics in the Netherlands for the first time.
The All-Sports Banquet celebrated 14 athletes who received awards in four sports: track & field, girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, boys’ soccer, and volleyball. Nacio Zaegers got a special award for his bronze and gold accomplishments at the Special Olympics. Zaegers won gold in the team division with partner Nicolas Bautista and a bronze medal in the individual division.
The Student Athlete of the year award for students who excel in academics and athletics went to Amanda Clarke, chosen by teachers and coaches.
The Seven Most Valuable Player awards went to Kimson Guerrier (track & field), Hannah Johnson (girls’ basketball), Denicio Levenstone (boys’ basketball), Preston Tenholt (boys’ soccer), and Zain Vorswijk (volleyball).
Also recognized was one athlete per team for their consistent attendance, dedication to their sport, and improved skills. The Most Improved awards went to Ashanti Hodge (track & field), Dorene Alao (girls’ basketball), Brandon Yara (boys’ basketball), Fabian Alkema (boys’ soccer), and Emely Rosa (volleyball).
Sports as a Tool
Hosts of the event, Health promoter Allan Carolina and project leader Lauren Risley highlighted the idea of using sports for exercise, competition, social interaction, teaching valuable life skills, and simply bringing people together, as seen on Saturday night.
Active coach in the community, Alejandro Longar, was the invited motivational speaker. Longar told his personal story of being surrounded by friends who became involved in dangerous situations, and because of this, he lost some. It was in these challenging times that Longar turned to sports. He explained how the quote, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves,” came to his mind, and he decided to challenge himself to be different. “Saba holds a special place in my heart, and it provided me with the opportunity to take advantage of my talent and share it with others.” He went on to explain how sports was not only a tool for health but also saving and changing his life.
Longar closed with a challenge to the youth, asking them what path they wanted for themselves. He reminded them that there will always be fear, but to stay disciplined and persevere to accomplish their dreams and ended with, “…remember there is always someone following your footsteps!”