Rice claims George Rivers award

Jeremy Rice may not be a prominent name associated with local little league. But at the recent end-of-season awards ceremony and all-star games his name came to the fore.

Rice was honoured by the Cayman Islands Little League as the 2011 George Rivers award recipient. The award is meant to recognize a long-serving little league volunteer with great attitude.

The memorial plaque is in honour of Caymanian George Rivers, who passed away years ago due to a sudden heart attack. Rivers was a long-time little league volunteer who had all four of his kids involved in the sport in the early days and handled many duties from coaching to umpiring.

Rice, who works at St. Ignatius (Catholic) school, states that the award resonated with him due to his connection to Rivers.

“I’m so overwhelmed to receive this award,” Rice said. “Long ago I knew George and I coached some of his kids such as Michelle. George really wore many different hats and did a variety of jobs for little league. I’m so pleased to receive the award in his honour.”

Rice is the 11th recipient of the award. Sara Mackay claimed the inaugural kudos back in 1998 and the other past winners were: Robert and Jeanette Totten (1999), Kevin and Robin Hartmann (2000), Rod and Penny McDowall (2001), Robbie and Paula Cribb (2002), Donnie Ebanks (2003), Minnie Giddings (2007), Jim Parham (2008), J.C. Calhoun (2009) and Pam Parsons (2010). Many of those past winners would be present to support Rice at the Field of Dreams facility in George Town.

Prior to receiving the George Rivers award, Rice was best known as the girls softball coordinator. A post he has held for many years, Rice has been a driving force in the development of the programme, lobbying for sponsors and media promotion.

Interestingly Rice has a deep connection to the Cayman Islands. He spent part of his childhood growing up on Grand Cayman, attending Catholic preparatory school. He returned to Cayman in the 1990s as one of the early teachers hired at the new high school section of the Catholic school. Rice stated in passing that June marked 20 years of his involvement in little league.

“It’s been 20 years since I first umped for little league. I’d just returned to the island, came to the ball field, said I could ump and J.C put me in a game. I’ve been involved in a wonderful way ever since.”