Tribute: Kathleen “Kay” Wilson on her 100th Birday

Kathleen Kay Wilson

On Kay’s 100th Birthday April 5, 2021, we salute a consummate Icon, a Phenomenal Woman – Kathleen Dorothea Wilson.

Kathleen Dorothea Wilson, affectionately called Kay or ‘Willo’ was the second President of the former Jamaica Women’s Hockey Association (JWHA), now the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF).

Kay was a founding member of the Cecelio Hockey Club, the oldest hockey Club in Jamaica. She has the distinction of being the longest serving president of the JWHA with her tenure spanning 1970 – 79 and 1983 – 1986.

Her distinguished playing career commenced on a phenomenal note in 1956 when, on being capped for the first time, she was also appointed team Manager to the inaugural Caribbean Triangular Tournament held in Trinidad & Tobago. She went on to play and manage national teams of 1962, 1963 and 1964. At age 46, Kay ended her vintage national playing career and immediately donned her administrative hat. She plunged full-time into the business of sports administration serving the Council as Honorary Treasurer and second Vice President, before being elected President in 1970.

Between 1970 and 1971, Kay focussed her efforts on acquiring the premises on Mona Road as the headquarters for the Association. It was not unusual to see Kay watering and weeding the field late at nights and early in the mornings. By 1977, two (2) full hockey pitches were well-established on the property along with our very own Club house. This was no small feat as no other national Association had its own grounds back then. Today the property is still the centre for hockey in Jamaica and the headquarters of the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF), which was formed through an amalgamation of the former JWHA & Jamaica Men’s Hockey Association (JMHA).

The Jamaica hockey family thanks Kay for her unwavering optimism and her refusal to bow to the many detractors and obstacles along the way. She had a vision of what the JWHA could accomplish and dedicated herself to making this a reality. Her motto was “forward ever, backward never’. Many of Kay’s objectives for the JWHA were realized during her tenure, including bringing a number of international coaches to Jamaica and ensuring that both players and local coaches benefited from these visits. This, without a doubt, led to many fine performances of Jamaica Women’s hockey teams over the years and the sharing of regional dominance for a long time with Trinidad & Tobago. While touring with national teams, Kay was always ready to participate in the fun and showed a great sense of humour even in the face of being the object of team’s mischievous pranks. She showed infinite patience even when confronted with flippant behaviours by those she mentored and continued to groom and encourage them, ensuring that the next g
eneration of hockey administrators would have a solid foundation. Those who have had the privilege of travelling with Mrs Wilson to Congress, Games or other such events have watched her in action in absolute awe.

Mrs Wilson’s tenure as an Executive, Technical Official and an Administrator spanned not only local involvement but international as well, she distinguished herself in the Technical field serving as Delegate, Juror of Appeal and Council member at many major international Tournaments. A highlight of her career as a Delegate of the International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA) was successfully bringing a motion to the International Council which resulted in South Africa being barred from all IFWHA and subsequent FIH Tournaments due to their stance on apartheid.

The numerous links Kay forged and the respect that she earned on the international circuit secured a place of prominence for Women’s Hockey in Jamaica among the international hockey fraternity. It is no wonder that in recognition of her knowledge of and dedication to sports administration that she was called upon to serve on numerous local Committees, Boards and Foundations such as the Carreras Sports Foundation (now RJR Sports Foundation), the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education & Sports, to name just a few.

In recognition of Kay’s phenomenal service to the sport of hockey she was bestowed Honorary Life Member status of the Jamaica Women’s Hockey Association on September 20, 1990. Kathleen, ‘Kay’, ‘Willo’, ‘Wilson’, remains a pioneer, an icon, a strong uncompromising, undaunted, determined, yet fun loving woman who is forever open to new experiences. She especially loved touring and have made many life-long friends around the Globe. She is a mixer, a militant, ‘an international’ and ultimately a mentor and role model for us. She will forever be a true Champion of Women in sports.