Rugby is emerging in the Cayman Islands as a favourite for many youngsters because it has an excellent programme promoting it in schools.
James Geary is a product of that energy. The John Gray High School pupil has just turned 17. A devout Christian, he’s only been playing seriously a year but already believes he’ll pursue it as a career.
‘I played American football in Miami when I lived there and I also play football for Bodden Town U-19s but I like rugby best,’ he says. ‘I love the sport and the fitness aspect. It’s a positive way for me to tell people about God too and I just love the team work. I like the discipline of rugby, the tackling, everything. It helps shape you to be a good person. I’m a really aggressive guy on the field. And I love the speed, no protection so if you don’t have no body strength, don’t play.’
He attends Frank Sound Church of God where he lives with his grandparents. His parents, Jasmine Seymour and Desmond Geary, live in Jamaica. ‘My grandmother has been to a few minutes of one of my games and says it’s really aggressive. She laughs when she watches it so I guess she must like it a bit.’
So dedicated is Geary that he hitches a lift home from the rugby club in South Sound. It can take hours if he isn’t lucky enough to get picked up quickly or the ride is not going that far.’
David Mays is the community development officer for rugby. He thinks Geary is destined for a fabulous rugby career and could be in the men’s squad for next month’s Caribbean Sevens championships in the Bahamas.
‘James is one of the best; his attitude to training, his commitment, his desire to play the game. A very smart boy, well educated. He’s got a big future ahead of him and I wish him all the best. Hopefully, as a coach we can guide him a little bit into a career academically or in rugby. ‘We’re looking into some avenues right now for a rugby scholarship, one in Canada we hoped for but the funding is not there but we’re looking at the States for him.
‘Hopefully, in a couple of weeks we’ll hear from some universities who may be able to offer him one to play rugby. James comes from a religious and music background and he wants to pursue those studies. Fingers crossed he’ll get the right direction somewhere. He plays lots of instruments and does percussion.
‘The guy lives in the North End yet comes to every practice, never misses them and at the end of the session sometimes he’s hitching a ride home, so that’s commitment. There’s not many guys who would do that.’
The respect is mutual. ‘I thank coach Dave because he’s one of the first coaches to put that effort out for me. The rest have but I like how he’s doing this whole thing with me and this sevens side is not easy to make. He’s really trying with me and making sure I’m getting physically fit more, because I’m going up against men every day. Coach picked me up in the summer for the Caribbean championships when I was in town as it’s not easy to get around. His dedication to his team is perfect.’
Geary plays flanker and is looking forward to learning the finer points from Mays. ‘He hasn’t given me tips for being a flanker yet because what I’ve trained with him so far is just sevens which only started in September.’