Chilly B always heats things up

Dominos is going in a new direction
in the Cayman Islands. The sport’s appeal has been obvious to the dozens of
players already involved, including the Barnes family.

Keith Barnes, known to most
Caymanians as DJ Chilly B, is the President of Helium domino club. The group
has a team in the ongoing 2010 local domino league. Interestingly Barnes visits
the various locals on Grand Cayman armed with his team-mates and family
members, son Keith Barnes Jr. (who is 22) and fiancée Marlene Barnes.

For the elder Keith dominos is a
sport that has his attention from a long time. “I’ve played it for over 20
years,” Barnes said. “I’m from George Town and my family owns Meringue Town
(which also has a domino team) and we’re family to the Christians. The first
time I got into dominos I learned it the hard way. It ended up being a gambling
game that I had to pay to learn. But I did eventually learn it and after that
you couldn’t take no money off of me.

“I started at 18 or 19 years of
age. I’m 41 now. Marlene and my son knew the game from awhile now. I gave them
pointers and they’re better now than they were before. They can play with

Fiancée Marlene, who hails from
Jamaica, states dominos for her is about enjoyment. “I played dominos in Cayman
from last year,” Marlene said. “I liked dominos from before and when I met
Keith I joined him on the Helium team. It is so nice, it’s enjoyment for me and
I love it. Whether you win or lose I find it’s good same way. Alongside Keith
it works out to be nice if we prevail or not. Though we try to win most times.”

Helium is one of eight teams in the
league. Most of the other clubs represent bars in Archie’s, Buttonwood,
Kelly’s, Meringue Town and Singh’s Roti Shop. The other sides are island teams
in the Island All Stars and East End All Stars.

Barnes makes his living as a truck
driver for Beacon Trucking (operating under Hurley’s Group) and a DJ for hire
in the evenings. He states his commitment to dominos is a welcome strain on his

“The two most relaxing sports I
know are dominos and pool. Nothing beats being by a table doing either of those
two. I used to play football but I got my knee injured. The doctor told me I’d
need surgery but I told him he was not cutting my leg and that was that. From
that knock I’ve eased up though once in awhile I play.

“Is it stressful having a family,
job and a sports team? Not really. I try to balance my time. Though I
especially make time for my baby girl that I have with Marlene. I must say I
feel proud seeing my wife-to-be and my son playing. The reaction they get, everyone
supporting them is great. I feel I don’t even have to play. Seeing them enjoy
themselves is what matters most to me.”

On the statistics sheet so far,
Helium have yet to get on the winning side of things. The side lost to Noel
Conolly and team East End in week two by 38 points and dropped a heart-breaker
to Kelly’s last Sunday at Helium by seven points. In spite of those losses
Barnes states he is happy with the team’s standing at this point.

“With Kelly’s there was a
misunderstanding with their captain (Edrick Vernon) but that won’t happen
again. I’m still quite happy with the result. Helium is the youngest team and
the fastest improving team in the league. The rest of the clubs are worried
about us.”

With familiar sports names like
cricketer Omar Willis and basketball player Kael Leslie, athletic talent
abounds. The side’s next match is at Buttonwood bar against a Buttonwood team
that is unbeaten in its opening matches. With a collection of notables that
include boxing coach Donie Anglin (who has knocked out his fair share of
matches over the years) and basketball referee Alvin Bryan, the side is far
from easy. Yet Barnes is not intimidated.

“Buttonwood is up next and they
have to be careful with us. Our team is off this week but we’re going to East
End to play a practice match and keep our mind fresh on dominos. Buttonwood is
on a two-match win streak and they’re a very good team. They have several key
players though the key to the game is winning the coin toss and setting up the
team from there. Otherwise we’re sitting ducks. It’s all about tactics.

“Several players on our team can
stand out for us in that game and this season. Everyone has the spirit and the drive.”

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