BFSA To Host Sportsmanship Award Ceremony

July 27, 2017

The Bermuda Friendly Societies Association [BFSA] will hold its annual “Good Sportsmanship Award” on Thursday, August 17th at 6.30pm at Manchester Unity Hall on the corner of Victoria and Union Streets in Hamilton.

A spokesperson said, “On Thursday, 17th August 2017 at 6:30 p.m., the Bermuda Friendly Societies Association will present its annual “Good Sportsmanship Award” to the Cup Match player who best exemplifies the principles and virtues of good sportsmanship.

“The Award – which was created in August 2004 – recognizes not only the recipient’s prowess on the field of play, but also his leadership capabilities, his commitment to teamwork, his dedication to fair play, his being a good role model and the example he sets as someone who typifies the very best of what the Annual Classic means to players and fans alike.

“The Awards Ceremony will take place at Manchester Unity Hall on the corner of Victoria and Union Streets in Hamilton. The Hall is located in the two-storey green building directly across the road from The People’s Pharmacy.

“As is the custom, the Guest Speaker this year will be an individual who has been closely involved in the game, perhaps as a player or as an umpire or as a scorer or in some other capacity.

“The winner of The Good Sportsmanship Award 2016 was Mr. Stephen Outerbridge, a member of the Somerset Cup Match Team, who has now joined an elite group of former Awardees who include the always dependable ‘Mr. Cup Match’, Mr. Janeiro Tucker, and Mr. Kyle Hodsoll.

“Although most people know a little something about Cup Match as the top sporting event on Bermuda’s summer sporting calendar, many are unaware of how this tradition started and how, over time, it developed into Bermuda’s biggest sporting, cultural and social event.

“For those who are able to do so, we highly recommend they read the late Mr. Larry Burchall’s timely, insightful and terrific article about Cup Match and which is a veritable treasure trove of information about the origins of the game and how it eventually morphed into the summer classic it has become.

“It would be appropriate, at this point, to acknowledge the stellar work done by Sis. Joy Wilson-Tucker who has painstakingly chronicled the history of Lodges in Bermuda and who has been largely responsible for ensuring that visitors and residents alike have the opportunity to see the history and artifacts of local Lodges displayed in The Bermudian Heritage Museum on Water Street in St. George’s. It is an exhibition not to be missed.

“Cup Match had its origins in a friendly gathering of two of the Lodges which were part of The Grand United Order of Oddfellows, those being Somers Pride of India Lodge, No. 899, in St. George’s and Victoria and Albert Lodge, No. 1027, in Somerset.

“Somers Pride of India Lodge was formed in 1848 while Albert and Victoria Lodge was established in 1852.

“In 1902, it was recommended by Mr. John “Hotter” Symonds that the two teams play for a trophy. The idea caught on, funds were raised to purchase a suitable trophy and the first Cup Match was played in St. George’s in 1902. The 2017 Classic returns to St. George’s, some 115 years later.

“In May 2001, The Bermuda Friendly Societies Association was established as a collaborative platform to advance the interests of Friendly Societies.

“There are many myths about Friendly Societies, one of which is its Members stand around meeting in secret, talking mumbo-jumbo amidst rituals shrouded in secrecy. Nothing could be further from the truth. And I say this, not only as The Noble Grand of Alexandrina Lodge, No. 1026, but also as a Past Officer of St. Ursula’s Lodge, No. 1183 in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

“It is also noteworthy that, following The Emancipation Proclamation in 1834 freeing enslaved people around the world, the Friendly Society Movement, as a vehicle of opportunity, began to fill the needs of the emerging group of free men of African descent.

“These needs centred around the provision of social, financial, cultural enrichment and care for its members. These Societies were the first to offer savings facilities for its members and their families; the first to provide what later developed into insurance vehicles; the first to provide support for educational facilities locally; the first to provide family-friendly venues for entertainment and various social events and the first to provide a platform for its members to develop financial, administrative and entrepreneurial skills, all of which enriched and empowered the black community at the time.

“In the case of Alexandrina Lodge, the Lodge was the home of the celebrated North Village Band and where stalwarts such as the late Olaf Simmons, Leslie Young and John Smith were part of the musical heritage of that Band.

“The Lodge was also the preferred venue for old-time concerts featuring bands like the Ernie Leader Orchestra, Maud Gilbert and, I’m told, the Aldano Sextette, amongst others. Alexandrina Hall was also home to countless fairs, bazaars, fashion shows, dances, social, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, socials, wedding receptions [complete with cake from The Goody Shoppe and bottles of mineral from John G. Bassett’s mineral water factory on Marsh folly Road] and stage shows featuring the best of Bermuda’s entertainers. A golden era, indeed!

“Alexandrina Lodge also had an excellent relationship with its neighbours and, at one stage, the building was used by the congregation of St. Paul AME Church in Hamilton whilst its sanctuary was under repair.

“Today, the celebrated local dance company – United Dance Productions under the artistic leadership of Ms. Suzette Harvey – occupies the ground floor of the Alexandrina Lodge building.

“In its heyday in the 1930’s through to the 1980’s, Lodges were well-supported and, time was that, if you did not arrive for the meeting early, you would sometimes find yourself being unable to get in because of the number of members present.

“Many years ago, most of the Lodges had Juvenile Divisions catering to youngsters from the age of five years and up; however, during the passage of time, membership dwindled as youngsters found other outlets for their interests and energy while others grew older and joined the various Lodges as adult members.

“Of significance too was the fact that, as organizations multiplied and race was no longer a bar to access to various social and cultural institutions, Lodges, over time, experienced a slippage in numbers, with the result that some have ceased to exist, others are struggling and some are managing to keep alight the flame that was ignited nearly 200 years ago.

“The Bermuda Friendly Societies Association is bullish on Friendly Societies and is committed to doing whatever it can to ensure that the broader public is aware of their existence, that the community at large appreciates the critical roles they played in the development of social structures and institutions in Bermuda, together with the pivotal role the Lodges played in establishing the Annual Cup Match Classic, their commitment to the core values of Friendship, Love and Truth and their determination to ensure that the legacy of Oddfellowship and of The Friendly Societies in general last for another 200 years.

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  1. Upset voter says:

    Wow! Bermuda could you these societies again! maybe could help get rid of the violence and other issues in our society and help build a better Bermuda.