House Speaker achieved goals

To most people Speaker of the House
Mary Lawrence is a central figure in Cayman politics. What many might not know
is she is a big supporter of Cayman’s sports scene.

Lawrence was at last week’s George
Town edition of the FC International summer camps. The T.E. McField stadium saw
some 200 kids come out to learn football fundamentals over five days. The Madam
Speaker states the sport of football is vital to Cayman’s youth.

“I believe the camp is great,”
Lawrence said. “I believe it gives kids an opportunity to interact with adults
outside of the classroom and home settings. With football in particular it
gives kids a chance to learn their importance. If you defend the ball that’s
the most important thing happening in the game at that time. The kids learn how
important their role is and to be the best where they are at. No matter where
they are skills-wise it’s very important to learn and contribute to the whole
team’s success.”

Lawrence hails from Bodden Town and
has held many public positions during her time on-island (including being a
journalist). In that time she had six children, 18 grand-children and one
great-grandson. As she states her family has constantly been into sports at
some level.

“Personally my concentration was
swimming. I’m not what you would call a football person but I do understand it
better than American football. I don’t understand why people would knock their
heads together like that in the first place. My children were into it at one
point. “In school my children did running, athletics and other sports. My
husband picked them up from school and took them to the various sporting
events. One of us was always around for our kids. I mostly stood on the
sidelines and cheered my kids on, that was my role. More parents need to be
involved and take time to cheer on their kids.

“I think one important element
missing today is parental support. A parent’s belief in a child can carry
him/her to great heights not just in sports but in life.”

Oddly enough an interest in
swimming was not unique to Lawrence. Her nephew is Seiji Groome, one of
Cayman’s best junior swimmers for the last three years. In April he won a
bronze medal in the boys 15-17 200 metres breaststroke at the 2010 CARFITA Swim
Championships in Kingston, Jamaica. Groome, 16, has continued to excel in the
sport the last few months in spite of the fact that his mother Adora
Bodden-Groome (Lawrence’s sister) passed away this year.

Ultimately Lawrence has been and
will continue to be a big proponent of local sports for its ability to mould
well-rounded individuals.

“You have to develop children as a
whole person and make sure that their academic, physical and spiritual
development is addressed. I feel sports can contribute to all of those areas.
Sports teaches them to be a team player, to interact with other people and to
rise to challenges. The health aspect of sports is also important. There is a
problem with obesity in Cayman today and that shouldn’t be with our weather.
Our kids don’t avail themselves of enough sporting activities. It’s important
for them to be involved in sports on all levels.”

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