The Metropolitan Cricket League and the United States of America Cricket Umpires Association have lost one of their most committed and hardworking colleague. We are saddened to hear of the passing of Carl Patrick on February 18th in his adopted home in Brooklyn, New York. He was 71 years old. Patrick was one of the few who truly exemplified the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship among cricketers, umpires, and administrators, notably in the Metropolitan Cricket league for more than four decades. A more, respectable, quiet, dedicated and hard working cricket enthusiast in the cricket community in New York has rarely drawn breadth.
Carl Patrick was the proud son of Mr. Stanford Patrick and Mrs. Resella Farquharson who hails from Clarendon. He was born in Accompong Town, St. Elizabeth Jamaica and attended Vere Technical High School; an intuition that was revered for their many outstanding athletes; cricketers and footballers who once graced the corridors of Vere Tech. After Patrick completed his academic requirements, he joined the Jamaica Defense Force and later migrated to the United States in the mid 1970’s where he settled in Brooklyn.
Apart from plying his daily trade in New York after he obtained his bachelor’s degree from Long Island University, cricket followed Carl Patrick and it remained pure in his blood for the remainder of his life. Patrick joined Lions Cricket Club in 1978 after he initially played a season or two with Lucas Cricket Club. He was the backbone of Lions CC and kept the ‘roar’ in Lions for over four decades. He was one of the longest serving member in Lions and the Metropolitan Cricket League.
When Patrick finally called it a day as a player with Lions Cricket Club, he traded his cricket whites for the pride of an umpire’s coat. He was among the first group of pioneers who teamed up with Lloyd Scott and worked tirelessly towards the establishment and development of United States of America Cricket Umpires Association. He was among the first batch of certified umpires in the USACUA in 1992. Patrick embarked on a road of thankless service to the game. A top ranked umpire, punctual and always well attired. He would be on the list of the top five to have officiated in the highest number of games to date in the New York area. He was a fixture in the MCL championship games, in addition to the New York Public Schools Cricket Competition, the Police Athletic Cricket League, the New York Region (NYR), and later in the NY Masters league. The president of the USACUA, Danny Khan, stated that “Patrick served diligently as the Public Relations Officer for many years, and was one of the most genuine and dedicated members, easy to talk with and always willing to help. His colleagues are is a state of shock. The association has lost one of their best. On behalf of the Executives and membership of the USACUA, our prayers are with his family.”
Patrick was true in his duties as an umpire, a duty that is not for the faint-of-heart, especially when managing cricketers in the New York area. Many of whom who are in a rush to levy judgments at the umpire, however, they fail to see their own faults while they make excuses about not seeing the ball when they dropped a catch, or moved in the opposite direction when the ball is hit, or by spectators whose bionic eyes can see an lbw from the beyond the boundary but can’t read the letters on the scoresheet next to them. Patrick never flinched at the attack, and seldom did he bring the game into focus on himself. A fundamental attribute of a good umpire. And if he did it was that human factor in his later years that caused him to blink at the wrong time. Some unkind souls would say that he blinked often, unkind souls! However, despite the occasional arrows that were pointed at him as an umpire, albeit, insensitive at times for a soldier and umpire, who is not infallible, but one who would have gone through the mill over the years. He managed to keep a sober mind throughout and was a model of restraint. He absorbed those trials with his quiet demeanor, much like the innocence of morning dew on a flower; he was that kind of a man. Perhaps, he felt that penchant and duty to lend his services to the sport.
He was not the kind who absorbed the ‘oxygen’ in conversations, but a friendly character with a wealth of stories and personal adventures and stuff to talk about. It was a joy to know Patrick, and I relished the encounters we have had in the 1980’s and 90’s both as players and supporters in the MCL. That was a time when the league modeled an unbelievable atmosphere of respect, fun, and friendship. I am hard pressed to decipher whether Patrick was a better dominoes player or a cricketer. However, I am inclined to conclude the former, notwithstanding, the encounter we had at Lucas club house (the once headquarters of the MCL) one evening when we were there for an MCL Executives meeting. I asked to join in on the domino game in which Pat, as I called him, said “Sham, you ‘caaan’ play this (in his deep Jamaican accent). You know how to hold the dominoes? Well, I did play, and got to six before he could, and in the process a man got love. To which Pats replied “You ‘betta’ stick with cricket” True words in its own uniqueness, matching dominoes is not playing, during which time Mas Bailey was fretting about getting the meeting started. It was one of those lighter sides of life and the novelty moments among sportsmen of yesteryear in the MCL which demonstrated the true definition of valued friendship and harmony.
In his many years of association with the MCL, has seen the league in its heyday and its transformations. Subsequently, in his own confines, he quietly agonized over the direction and the loss of value among the new breed of cricketers and administrators in the cricket community. That their myopia and agenda only allow this current collective to see the here and now, and their formulations and prognosis will encourage the young to embark on paths that would eventuate in the loss of good young minds, and an eventual loss of their own directions. Evidently, few in this day would pause to spare a silent thought for the services of individuals like Carl Patrick. Those days seems to be disappearing faster than one of Clem Thompson’s quicker delivery about a time when the Metropolitan Cricket League treated their past members with deference and held them in high regard for their services. One can only hope that the least dignified thing to do is not to bury the memories with the men as just a moment-in-time, but that they will once again find a permanent place on the league’s agenda.
Patrick was not one to seek accolades or glorification; instead, he demonstrated a wholehearted commitment to the game as a player and later as an umpire and administrator. As a friend for the last three decades I have had the kind privilege to serve and work closely with him as an administrator in the MCL. He was genuinely sincere, reliable and hardworking, one who always did what was best for the MCL and cricket, and above self. He served with loyalty as the Vice President and Umpires coordinator, in company with his long time friends Trevor Walfall, Jeff James, Hugh Pitter, and Venelda Wallace who was visibly shaken upon hearing of his passing for she had shared years of service with him in the MCL; it is a testament of a closely knitted group of executives under the leadership of Mascelles Bailey.
When Patrick was once blindsided for the vice president position, which he managed to retain, he never flinched at the challenge, but remained appreciated and dignified through it all. He was not the kind to glorify in wasteful exchanges. You always felt a sense of calm in his presence and a wholly dept of wisdom in the constructs of his conversation. He was that kind of man, true in his values, and at times of crisis he exhumed an unbridled calmness and allows himself a smile of defiance, but such crisis occurred irregularly, and for the most part he appeared impervious to anything that life may throw at him, especially when he was standing as an umpire behind the stump. He was an undemonstrative man warm in his greetings, and respectful in his exchanges. He was never in a rush about anything. He walked at a pace in 1st gear even when he was walking fast, it was his signature swagger. And while many on the cricket scene lend their services to the sport over the years, they pale in comparison to Carl Patrick’s portfolios with the MCL, NYR, and the USACUA for a more dedicated servant of the game is a rarity in these parts.
In testing times and for all the imponderables that came his way, in his last days of trials, while his inner structure was showing signs of frailty he somehow manage to show that steely confidence within as he fight for his life. He did so with that grit and gusto of a true soldier, that of an umpires tried legs, steadying his nerves and concentration in the last hour on the fifth day of a test with a batsman in the nineties doggedly push to a coveted century. Who will break first? Patrick held his head, and never for a nanosecond did he question his numbered days, even though his need for oxygen required a little extra effort. Many of his colleagues, along with Wilton Rickets, and Nathan Henderson who assisted him in his final days would wonder solemnly what just happened. His passing has left a massive void in the MCL, the NYR and the USACUA. That was confirmed when the former MCL president Mas Bailey related an emotional message he received from Venelda, his voice faded in the end. “Sham, Patrick is gooone”. Gone where? Those words resonated clearly, in my ears, in towering decibels that thirty-five years of friendship have left an indelible mark among the many who served the MCL in their quest and dreams of a better league and a better tomorrow.
However, on this day, not tomorrow, the Metropolitan Cricket League and the Umpires Association paused remorsefully, and deeply mourn the passing of Carl Patrick. Tomorrow seems like a far far place away and sometimes tomorrow never comes. For the many paths, and multitude of acquaintances along the way the end often paints a familiar picture with a common denominator that your memory is often savor only by a few. His colleagues will cherish those memories. But in a world where life must be cherished for somewhere beyond there is a land that is fairer than day, we may find some strength and comfort in the words of the legend Bob Marley “One love, One heart… Hear the children Cryin … Give thanks and Praise to the Lord, and I will feel alright.” Patrick is survived by his beautiful wife, Carol, of 45 years, daughters Andrea, Stacy, Allison, and son Shaun. The prayers of the MCL and the extended cricket community are with his family.
For one last time Patrick held on to that moral fiber in him to extend his hands that once moved the Metropolitan Cricket League and United States of America Cricket Umpires Association. And on this day, frail as he was his enthusiasm for the game never dimmed, but he just could not sport his umpire’s coat for one last walk to the wicket. And for all that he represented during his time, not free from flaws and imperfections, a perceptive man and a spirited cricketer, in his numbered days he still had enough of that element of tranquility and goodness for a world he has left behind; a noteworthy legacy that lives on through his multiple endeavors and in the many lives he has touched And the man, who flicked the switch to light the lives of so many in the cricket community, left it on, when he smiled and took one last look, blinked and bid a final farewell. There were signs that he was recovering slowly; regrettably, the game and life did not permit him to choreograph his departure. His time arrived. Blended with an inconceivable feeling of loss, this moment celebrates the memory of a most dignified gentleman of not mere surface charm, well-mannered, one of life’s characters and a good man. The umpire’s finger, as it will be raised for all of us, has been raised! Confirmed by the third umpire! Who? Snicko heartbeat is a horizontal line today! Heads fall with that feeling of helplessness and the tears kept on flowing, Patrick is gone! Out on 71. He will be missed. Farewell to a Pioneer. Farewell to a Player. Farewell to an Umpire. Salute a Dear Friend. Rest in peace Pato!
He now joins, in our memory three of the Metropolitan Cricket League incomparables, Clement ‘Busta’ Lawrence, Roy Sweeney, and Lloyd Scott.