The man known as Coach Gairy is sure to ring a bell with most past and present public-school goers.
The Physical Education teacher at the George Hicks High School campus for the last two decades, Coach Cyril Gairy has had a big hand in moulding and shaping Cayman’s youth.
The rise of the 2008 U15 Interscholastic Football League sees Coach Gairy continuing in his role while seeing youngsters engage in his beloved sport.
Alongside Coach Gillie, Coach Gairy has been integral in getting the league up and running.
The Department of Sports sponsors the league and provides the teams with uniforms and trophies among other things.
Games are played twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3pm at the George Hicks field and the St. Ignatius school grounds.
Games began this month on 15 October and continue until 1 December.
All four George Hicks-based schools are involved in Heritage High, Leading Edge, New Horizons and Pace High with St. Ignatius, Triple C, Cayman Prep and Cayman Academy also in the mix.
Up to 20 players can play on each team, with each match seeing unlimited substitution.
Gairy feels the league has many talented players who only need a better field to play on.
‘We have a lot of skilled players here, a lot of good youth. We want them to learn something from this league. But the ground is poor and a big deterrent to them playing.
‘The league’s problem is with facilities. If we have a better field then we can see a better development of the players.’
Gairy, during his 21 years of residence in Cayman, has seen the field at various stages over the years. However he feels it’s at its worst now because of all the activities it hosts.
‘Everybody is playing on our field from flag football guys to local footballers to people in softball. I had suggested half of the field being sectioned off for the sole use of the school and leaving the rest so but that hasn’t happened.’
As a teacher and staunch supporter of local football Gairy feels the league’s importance goes beyond keeping kids active in sports.
In fact Coach Gairy, who has Caymanian status going on five years now, feels it’s a small contribution towards keeping Cayman’s youth out of trouble.
‘Plenty children don’t have no one to go home to or anyone to keep them from mischief. We come in like the parents of them.
‘What else would I do to keep the kids off the streets? If somebody doesn’t do this for them then who will?’
Both Coach Gairy and Coach Gillie have put in much time and effort into getting the league going.
Both have been known to spend hours at night planning and re-working the game schedule.
On Wednesday Gillie was seen re-painting the boundaries for the field as he has been known to do over the years.
For Gairy, his dedication to Cayman’s youth has its own reward.
‘Football keeps the kids busy. I get a certain satisfaction in seeing them in a meaningful activity. You know they into something positive meaning that will keep them out of trouble.’
Ultimately Gairy hopes the league will attract local coaches out to scout for talent.
‘If the coaches from the various leagues come they can watch the games and see for themselves the future nucleus of their teams.
‘For me the league is a stepping stone for the U14 and U15 age groups.’