Column: Duffy & Hill Provide Inspiration

October 28, 2021

[Opinion column written by Glenn Fubler]

There are those who claim that life is not a sprint, but a marathon. Others recognize the reality of the communal nature of life; appreciating that it is more of a long-distance relay.

With her spirit of appreciation for that reality, Flora Duffy used the opportunity of her being celebrated by our island, to highlight her gratitude for Clarence Hill:

“Thank you for everything. You paved the way and I am honoured I could follow you.”

Flora Duffy Clarence Hill Olympic medalists Bermuda 2021 (2)

The 2020 Triathlon Olympic gold medalist went on to hope that the synergy that has lead to the Island producing two Olympic medal winners would have a positive overall impact on fellow Bermudians; wishing that all might be inspired to fulfil their goals.

Here in the midst of the challenges of the 2020s, the whole global family are being required to respond. We could choose to react with a sprint or go it alone in marathon fashion. Those fear-based options are on offer. We can witness – on the evening news – the results from those choices.

However, alternatively – we could be encouraged and recognize our interconnections, the reality of community. The examples are provided by Clarence and Flora.

Clarence offered inspiration to Bermudians with his bronze medal heavy weight boxing performance in 1976. The significance of that achievement is further clarified when realizing that Cuban Teofilo Stevenson, the all-time great, won the gold medal.

Clarence was one of the many Bermudians inspired by the Pan Am Games silver medal performance of the Bermuda National Football Team in 1967. That team was only inches and minutes away from winning gold against the Mexico National Team – representing tens of millions for whom football is almost a religion.

Sports and the arts provide society opportunities to learn about life. While some sports are considered to be individual, it doesn’t take much to see just how much support from untold others is required from family and community. Flora is a testimony to that reality and her warm expressions of appreciation to Clarence spoke eloquently to that fact.

The story of our heavy weight Olympic bronze medalist is not a straightforward saga. The celebration around Flora has been an opportunity to promote healing, with implications not only for Clarence and others in sports, but for our whole community.

The challenges of the 2020s – the Covid pandemic and its impact on economies; the implications for inequality and the existential threat due to the climate crisis – all call us to be inspired to recognize our vital role in the relay.

As we celebrate life and the role we each play, we are called to be open to receive the batons being offered and ensure to pass them forward.

If not now, when?

- Glenn Fubler


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