Most times it’s easy to overlook the fact that Cayman boasts over 30 active sports.
When one considers for a moment that just about all of them saw significant happenings this year it can be mind-boggling.
Among the disciplines that came on strong in 2009 were motorsports, flag football, fishing, gymnastics, darts, indoor hockey, softball, table tennis, dominoes and volleyball.
Local racing saw a number of records fall at the 1/8 mile drag strip at Breakers Speedway. Dante ‘Ross’ Hydes earned all the props in October by becoming the fastest person down the track at 6.167s on his Honda CBR 1000 motorbike (he would later reset that mark to 6.112s).
In addition the local motorsports association launched its own drag race series called Full Throttle in October. That meet drew hundreds of spectators and saw Dail Davis set the record for fastest time by a car with a 6.180s run in his 1989 Ford Mustang.
Dexterity racing launched a points championship from the start of the year that saw winners over various categories (mostly according to drive-train). In addition the Al and Jay Bodden Memorial dexterity race was held in November at the Progressive loop in George Town.
The race honoured the Bodden family for their contributions to motorsports over the years (their property hosted dexterity racing in recent years and before that was the site of Lakeview Raceway).
In addition Cayman formally branched off into circuit racing by sending a small contingent of local racers to compete in the Caribbean Circuit Championships at Dover Raceway in Jamaica (in May, August and October).
Flag football would expand as both the men and women’s leagues grew and a youth competition came on the scene. The sport also saw its games shift primarily to the Ed Bush field in West Bay and the TE McField stadium (known as the Annex field) in George Town.
In the face of seven teams the Goldfield Hellcats cemented their status as the sport’s premier dynasty with their fourth men’s title in eight years.
Walkers Wonders overcame six clubs to win the women’s title after losing in the final of the inaugural title game last year.
A youth flag football clinic was held in early February that attracted Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett to Cayman. The clinic would serve as the launching point for the first youth league in early March.
Local fishing produced a number of memorable tournaments in 2009. The first event came in February with the initial Barcadere Classic. The event produced the year’s biggest catch in the form of an 88.7lb Yellowfin Tuna.
From there came the Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament in March. The Barcadere Marina saw a number of big catches including a 74lb Yellowfin Tuna plus a 62lb, six ounce Wahoo.
May saw the annual Brac Jackpot fishing tournament (which produced a 54.6lb Wahoo) and August witnessed the annual Billfish release tournament (which saw monstrous Blue Marlin catches of roughly 400lbs and 150lbs).
The last competition came in November with the second annual Fishing for Community Service tournament that saw over 60 spectators, 70 anglers and a monster 86.6lb Yellowfin Tuna at Camana Bay.
Gymnastics quietly held its own in local sports this year. It sent 13 youngsters to compete in Coral Springs, Florida for a Halloween event in October and held a holiday showcase at Motions Unlimited gym earlier this month.
The Cayman team placed no lower than third in its various categories and the December event saw the first local male team competing.
Darts saw droves of action with a number of local events. The Marjorie Bodden Memorial tournament took place in April with team Fidel Murphy’s winning first place.
Eddie Ballantyne won the Vivian Rankine Memorial tournament in October (which attracted Jamaican stars Hubert ‘Tengue’ Brown and Mark Birthwright) and Mel Tagalog won the Mickey Mouse tournament in November.
Cayman also competed in the World Cup of darts for the first time, held in September in Charlotte. The sport also saw tragedy as it lost vice president Phillip Parsons, 46, to a heart attack in July.
Indoor hockey saw a great 2009 at Kings Sports Centre in its adult and youth programs.
The MEPCO High Rollers capped off their adult roller hockey league season with a third title in four years about two weeks ago.
In ball hockey the Lone Star Barracudas won the 2009 league in the sixth year of existence.
The youth roller hockey league would see the Darts Ducks (Mite 6U), dms Bruins (Novice 8U), LOM Captials (Atom 10U) and Five Continent Leafs (PeeWee 13U) emerge victorious earlier this month.
On the diamond softball would stay on the forefront with a number of events.
Co-ed softball ran two seasons of action in the Winter (January-May) and Fall (August-November). Also men’s and women’s slow-pitch softball took place during the Winter with the fast-pitch version wrapping up in July.
August saw the annual Nicaraguan International Softball Tournament held in Cayman this year. Cayman did well with a mens’ team placing first and its womens team coming in second and third.
Table tennis roared onto the scene after getting backing from the local Olympic committee.
Its major event of the year was a fun day in June at the George Hick campus that drew about 20 players and 40 odd spectators. Among them was local cricket figure Ronnie Roach (father of young cricket star Ricardo Roach).
From there the sport held various local matches at the school every Saturday throughout the year.
Another discipline that jumped into the sports landscape was dominoes.
Its two biggest events of the year was a Jamaica versus Cayman ‘test series’ in January (Cayman went to Jamaica for the second leg in March) and the Island All-Star round-robin tournament in May.
Lastly volleyball had a big year in Cayman sports. From international tournaments to heightened local play the sport saw much fanfare in 2009.
The local volleyball league finals took place in February at the University College of the Cayman Islands main hall.
Seven Mile Beach hosted the North America, Central America and Caribbean Beach Circuit tournament in March. Cayman was represented by Olney Thompson, Shervin Rankin, Jennifer Billy and Wanda Brenton.
Cayman sent an indoor volleyball team to the Island Games in Aaland, near Finland in June which produced a seventh place finish.