Barnes’ house of hoops

It’s hard to tell who loves basketball more than her.

Her love for the game shines through in every discussion on the sport. Her dedication to it overflows in her breakdown of teams and strategies.

Barnes family

The Barnes family (l-r) Pauline, Patrick and Phil Barnes I Photo: Matthew Yates

She watches the games religiously on TV, helps out with local basketball and has two young sons excelling in the sport.

Pauline Barnes is a lot of things and a basketball fanatic is certainly one of them.

Her love for hoops began some 20 odd years ago when her favourite player Michael Jordan burst onto the scene in his Carolina blues.

She admits since then she hasn’t been able to turn away from the game.

‘I’ve been a basketball fan since Jordan was a Tarheel (at the University of North Carolina). Then again I love American football and those Miami Dolphins too.

‘But basketball is my passion. I love the Miami Heat and Dwayne Wade. To me he’s the heir to Jordan’s throne.’

Obviously the Prospect native is thrilled with Wade’s return to dominance this year and the subsequent revival of the Heat as a competitive team in the NBA.

Then again nothing gives her more joy than her children and their involvement in the sport.

Barnes is the mother of Philip, 23, and Patrick Barnes, 17. Philip starred for George Town Sports Club from 2003-2006 during their consecutive championship runs and is currently away at Lemoyne University.

He is set to graduate from the US school this May and is slated to come back to Cayman for awhile. On his to-do list is attending the Island Games, most likely as a player on the men’s national team.

Patrick meanwhile starred for Esso Blazers from 2005-2008 in the national U19 league. He played a big role in the Blazers’ run to the championship this past season.

He also plays for GTSC during the men’s league, which gets going again later this month.

Aside from their family one of the people who played a big role in their basketball lives was Shawn Pitterson.

Like he had done with other local kids, Pitterson took the boys to competitions in the US. He also travelled with Phil when he was looking at colleges.

Naturally Pauline holds Pitterson in high regard.

‘Shawn has been a brother to Phil and Pat,’ she said. ‘I’ll never forget him taking Phil to New York to play in the early days or going with Phil to school when Phil’s father and I could not. I love Shawn like a son.’

Through it all Barnes is just glad that when it came to sports the boys took after their mom.

‘Their father (Philip Snr) has always been there for their games. He’s a good daddy; he supports them and makes sure he’s there for them.

‘But by far I’m their biggest fan. I’m so glad they chose basketball as their sport because basketball cheers me up all the time.’

About the only thing hoops-related that doesn’t sit well with her is the future of local basketball.

In her eyes there needs to be a greater commitment to the sport from the powers that be on Cayman.

‘Basketball has talent here and I really believe government needs to inject more funds into it. Imagine the Cayman Islands Basketball Association has to cancel games due to rain. In other places people are playing inside when it’s raining outside.

‘I just feel like the more kids we have in sports, basketball or otherwise, the better chance we have of cleansing our youth. In my mind anything that can be done to help in that effort should be done.’

When she is not focused on all things basketball, Pauline provides customer service as a supervisor of the banking support unit at Butterfield Bank.

She has been on the job for 20 years now. With times being tough, it may sound like a daunting task. But she always finds a way to get through her days with a smile.

Of course the happiest parts of her day are going home to watch the Heat play, be with her children and talk about basketball.

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