Tribute – Donald Hugh James
“An Iconic & a Once in a Generation Member Of the Field Hockey Fraternity”
If privileged, an individual or group will have the opportunity to interact with a person who may be described as ICONIC … who embodies traits of a strategic and selfless leader, focused on the transformation of lives in their sphere of influence through a shared passion, while guided by a prodigious lifetime of overwhelming tangible results and achievements not attained by many. These people we only experience once in a Generation.
Donald Hugh James… ‘Danny James’, ‘Danny’ or ‘JAHMEZ’, to the members of the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF) family, was unquestionable a once in a Generation human being. His triumph of ‘AGAPE’ still echoes and reverberates in our Fraternity’s consciousness and his teachings, thoughts and unselfish deeds will continue to live in our hearts, minds and souls.
“The fatherly love for God and Humans…”
It is unlikely that the JHF, the local Sporting Fraternity or indeed Jamaica will again be blessed by the cosmos with a man that wrote such a inimitable lifetime script such as ‘Danny James’ … who was without doubt, an exceptionally talented field hockey and multisport athlete; a scholar; a brilliant coach/teacher; a philosopher; and above all, an example of a man that exhibited humility and class, anchored by an unwavering ethical moral compass and a seriously demonstrated love for his fellow man, fully experienced by the Hockey Family.
A talented Multisport Athlete & Exceptional Field Hockey Player
Danny James was a multitalented athlete who had the distinction of representing the National teams at the senior level in both Hockey and Football (under the first Brazilian Coach Jorge Penna). He also represented Jamaica in the first schoolboy Cricket tournament in Barbados and Trinidad in the 1960s, along with other schoolboy players who later represented the West Indies (Maurice Foster, Rudolph Cohen).
Despite his exceptional talent in the other sporting disciplines, Danny’s love was Field Hockey. He first represented Jamaica in field hockey in 1959 as a 15-year-old schoolboy in a series involving Trinidad and Guyana, scoring 13 goals in 13 games, during the 14 day tournament. He was called the “Baby of the team,” in a report that described him as “having dazzling stick work” when he scored four goals in one of the games.
As a senior player, Danny participated in three (3) Pan American Hockey Championships and three (3) Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games. He also participated in numerous friendly games against other Caribbean teams and Germany, as well as a tri-nation tournament with Trinidad and Barbados in 1962.
Indeed, for a man whose seminal origins as a hockey whiz began at his own alma mater, Excelsior High School at 14 years old in the school league, his eventual involvement and abiding loyalty and successes with the Munro College Old Boys Hockey Club desires mention! He ended up playing for the Club close to 50 years until 2006, en route to playing more games in the league than anyone else to date.
The Coach, Scholar and Teacher
Based on his high level of exposure in the Game, it was only natural that Danny sought to become a coach. In his illustrious coaching career, he coached and taught field hockey at all levels, i.e., high school, collegiate, clubs and at the national levels. Danny also represented Jamaica and the hockey fraternity as a Technical Director, National Coach Developer/Trainer and served as Chairman of the Development Committee. Always willing to work at a moment’s notice for the betterment of the Sport and its throng of young people, unselfishly, with no financial returns, he craved to motivate and assist with their overall development through the game. For the growth of the game, he also created the first community hockey tournament in Garveymeade in the 1980s, aimed at community outreach for the sport. The tournament later became a fixture on the JHF Hockey Calendar during the 1980s.
It is noteworthy that he was the first Caribbean person to be trained at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Advanced Level of Coaching, in Holland, after he was selected from a group of 40 coaches that attended a coaching seminar in Mexico. He further went on to participate in many other coaching programs in the world and shared unselfishly the knowledge he had obtained over the many years.
Danny’s love for the Game, and service to the Hockey Federation saw him utilizing his combined scholastic and coaching experiences to develop the first Field Hockey Development Program Manual in Jamaica that focused on establishing: “A Hockey Philosophy for Jamaica’s National Teams”.
Danny’s scholarly credentials were on full display for the utility of his Hockey Family. An accomplished multitalented sportsman who had a successful career as a highly respected Industrial/Chemical Engineer, he was highly capably in the application of management techniques for business improvements. He also contributed as member of the Team, including Dr. Muggy Graham, Ray Barrett and Ronnie Nasralla, that prepared the Business and Marketing Plan for the Reggae Boys “Road to France and Beyond” World Cup in 1998 qualification. So while focused on his time-consuming work, he still found time to guide and offer council on adapted systematic improvement processes for the betterment of sports and its management.
The Philosopher – “The fatherly love for God and Humans…”
In his usual thoughtful, quiet, pensive, respectful and unwavering posture, Danny James preached that at the center of all we do, especially as leaders, the love for mankind, particularly our wider hockey family, and its resultant multiplier effects must be standard. His focus on helping all with growth, consciousness and maturation, particularly the youth of our hockey family, through various channels of the sport was unparalleled.
An icon of the Field Hockey Fraternity…..Danny James’ life journey was penned from a once in generation multi- sport athleticism, a sound moral fabric, family centric values, and the love and commitment showed to all including members of his extended Hockey Family. His wisdom and guidance will certainly be missed, but his stellar contribution to our sport and the lives he touched will never ever be forgotten.
The Board of Directors of the Jamaica Hockey Federation, the President and other senior members of the Pan American Hockey Federation, and our wider hockey family and friends in the region, wish to convey our deepest sympathies to Danny’s immediate family for the transition of a true Jamaican field Hockey icon, a servant leader of the field hockey community and beloved friend to us all.
Walk Good and Rest in Peace now Danny James