Yes, my friends. Ray(co) has finally been bowled! He went home to be with the Lord earlier this week.
An avid sportsman, Ray played Table Tennis, Volley Ball, and his favorite, Cricket. I do not know very much about Ray’s personal and family life, but I know him well on the cricket field and in the cricketing fraternity. He was a fierce competitor, who played each cricket match as if it was a championship game.
He was a stickler for observing the rules of the game, and he made it clear to all who were involved in the game that it – the game – was “bigger than all of us”. He tempered his shrewdness in play with a quiet compassion and spirit of camaraderie. He was considerate of all those whom he came into contact with, whether it was on a cricket field or in a social setting.
Ray grew up on the lower Corentyne, I think it was Cromarty. He excelled in Table Tennis, Volley Ball, and Cricket. He would go out from “dawn to dusk” playing sports with his youthful friends. His favorite game, of course, was cricket. He excelled in all three sports in High School. He won numerous tournaments and trophies, and awards. His boyhood friend, Pastor Naresh, with parish in Jamaica, New York, so aptly put it, “we played together, but I was in no way as good as he was”. Ray had that sense of application and adhered to this discipline in sports.
He was no Rohan Kanhai, no Gary Sobers. Neither was he a Joe Solomon or a Basil Butcher, but on the cricket field Ray had a magnitude of greatness. He let his presence on the field be felt, whether he was wicketkeeping, captaining his team, or batting and pummeling the bowlers all around the cricket field. Yet, he did these with such quiet grace that one wondered, and marveled, at his competitive spirit. He was a true sportsman. An ambassador on the cricket field, kindling friendships and bridging gaps.
Ray was a reliable cricketer and cricket administrator- he saw to the operation of his club – Rayco. He was dependable, and could be counted on to “get up” the cricket match. On cricket days in the park, you would know that the matting and equipments had arrived, because Ray’s vehicle had arrived. Ray’s car and later on, his SUV were always cluttered with bats, pads, batting gloves, stumps, and matting. You name a piece of cricket equipment, it was in Ray’s vehicle. He would drop off the matting in the middle, on the wicket, go park his vehicle, then returned to help prepare the wicket and field for the game. Always doing something to make things better for everyone!
As a batsman, he was tenacious; was almost technically correct in his stroke play. He loved to play the straight drive, with such dexterity. His square cut was a shot to be admired, once executed by him. He had the (batting) patience of a monk, and the staying power of a Geoff Boycott.
He was friendly, to his teammates and the opponents, alike. One incident stuck in my mind. It was over a decade ago. Ray’s club, RAYCO, was playing in the Eastern American Cricket Association (EACA). At that time, I played for Invaders Cricket Club, also in the EACA. These two clubs, Ray’s and mine were engaged in a league game at Bay Park, in Oceanside, Long Island. We were fielding, Rayco was batting. Ray and his good buddy, Denny, were at the wicket batting. I was fielding at cover point. A ball was hit in my direction. As I longed forward to field the ball I felt a sharp pain at the back of my left leg. At the same time I was unable to move; frozen on the spot. The pain was intense. I looked at my leg and saw that a large lump, had protruded from the back of my leg. I had to leave the field. Ray was one of the fellas who helped me off the field. After the game he came across to find out how I was feeling.
Ray was a person who loved his friends dearly. He appreciated what they did and showed this in a very tangible way. In the match I mentioned above, his buddy, Denny, scored a century. Ray was the batsman at the other end. You should have seen the glow on Ray’s face: the gloating and joy painted on his face. He was so joyous; so happy for the accomplishment of his friend, that you would have thought it was Rays himself who had scored the century.
There are so many, many more nice things that I can say about Ray that to do so it would take pages upon pages to tell all. But I would wholeheartedly say this, that for all of us who were fortunate enough to have known Ray, our lives have been made so much richer.
Ray, my friend, Rest In Peace. I suppose you would be forming a cricket team up there!
Farewell, Our Friend, You Will Be Missed.
NB: During the summer last year, some of Ray’s friends got together and played a cricket match in his honor. Now that he is no longer with us, how about us instituting a RAY RAMSAMMY MEMORIAL MATCH, to be played annually in his memory. I am willing to work along with other interested persons to get this done.
Send comments to me at this website or at Ssamrajs@verizon.net