Eldemire Smith, the best father anyone could ask for – Walcott
Athletics coach Reynaldo Walcott has described the late Eldemire Smith as the best father anyone could ask for. Smith died last Saturday and Walcott is grateful for the guidance he received from the veteran St Elizabeth Technical School (STETHS)...
Athletics coach Reynaldo Walcott has described the late Eldemire Smith as the best father anyone could ask for. Smith died last Saturday and Walcott is grateful for the guidance he received from the veteran St Elizabeth Technical School (STETHS) coach and teacher.
They met at STETHS when Walcott the student began to assist Smith at training sessions.
“He kept providing the encouragement and anything to keep going and just one of those persons who, you would say something to and it’s just the idea you have, but you also think it’s too far-fetched, and he would say why not? How are you going to know? How are you going to find out? Don’t you have to go and try?”, Walcott recounted.
A turning point came when Walcott joined the STETHS coaching staff as a volunteer starting with hurdlers.
“He just sent over the best sprinters. I was like, Mr Smith these are your fastest guys. Why are you sending them to do hurdles?”, Walcott asked. “Whey the event name, nuh sprint hurdles? You have to use sprint athletes,” replied Smith.
It was similar when Walcott took over from Smith as head coach at STETHS.
“As a matter of fact, he pretty much handed over the head coaching job to me, he didn’t leave me to die because he would be just holding my hand all the way through,” the Elite Performance founder and coach remembered.
Smith’s support made the choice to form Elite easier. “He was my biggest cheerleader,” Walcott stated,”When I said it to him, he was like, what are you waiting on?” he added.
“As a matter of fact, for almost the first year, he would literally drive me back and forth to Kingston every day like every single day. So I remember one morning, you know, he was going in late, and he met in a minor accident, and then I was just thinking that I wouldn’t want him to meet in an accident early in the morning coming to me,” he extended, “He was willing to do everything, above and beyond, to see me be successful.”
This incident led to Walcott relocating to Kingston, but it didn’t break the link.
“Even when I’m here at Elite, I’d call him and tell him about something exciting that happened at practice,” Walcott recounted.
Smith opened his eyes to his potential as a coach.
“So, all of what I’m doing in this career, this profession, obviously, my interest was there, still is there, but it’s as a result of pretty much standing on the shoulders of a giant. He has been holding my hand all along, telling me what could be possible, stopped me from limiting myself,” he added.
Smith died after suffering a stroke in January.
“I was just hoping that eventually I could help patch him up, that I could just get back my friend because that’s what it became,” he said.
Walcott added, “Now that I’m looking back, he’s probably the best father any person could ask for or have.”