Alton "Tanus" Lawrence left us in August of this year after a brief illness and hospitalization, he has done it if ever from being integral with the male netball teams on and off the court, administration, scoring goals when he could at matches, starting teams, organizing training and recruitment, volunteer for various projects, short term member on the GLABCOM Steering Committee and even one time model for a popular diva's agency in years gone by.
He was more known for his work with Jamaica AIDS Support for Life as the trusted driver in the latter years and also jumping around in the office apart from the sports work. Many male netballers gay or straight have either been trained, play alongside, played opposite to him or have been influenced by his sneaky style on the court where he was either centre or sometimes goal attack when that person was not available. His style at the management meetings a few of which I have been able to see where cute at best as he reserves his comments and then smashes any opposition with his unusual style.
I can remember matches in mostly Kingston when I could get to see them, there were exciting and members of the public would stand in awe watching real men playing what was considered a woman's game despite the snide remarks and snickering sometimes the men would play even harder to show their stuff and the cheers from the mostly gay crowd was loud. I can remember an infamous match at Stadium East where a basketball match was happening at the same time and that match literally stopped as their supporters curious as they were looked over in disbelief as the two male teams went at it, he intervened as some of the comments were less than flattering but the game continued with both fans watching until it ended, then the halted basketball game recommenced.
Even selected Sunshine Girls from the old squad would admire and ask for training time to sharpen their own skills as the boys were fierce and fast on the court.
The teams which shall remain nameless for now have won several local and international awards and have gotten some local media attention but not nearly enough as they really deserve.
A Prayer for Alton: A fallen Soldier
We laughed, we joked we share time and space we had many fights and so equal were the make ups. We called each other silly names and we all wanted the same for a community that we belong to. There were days i wanted to just kill you but I would always kill for you because you were my brother and friend as the years passed by we often times didn't see each other and when we did it was like the breaking dawn of spring. Last night I laid in bed just gazing out my window at the lights when another soldier of love and life Yvonne Artis wrote a message to me saying you were gone from us.
In the words she wrote I felt her heartache and I saw her tears because you were no longer in the room next door but you were gone to rest with your God. Fly on brother enjoy the splendours of the after life for I know not when but You and I will meet again,When we're least expecting it,One day in some far off place, I will recognize your face,I won't say goodbye my friend,For you and I will meet again but until that day comes Rest in Peace................ and the words of this song carry you over the mountains to the other life on the other side........and I never thought I'd feel this way and as far as I am concerned am glad I got the chance to say that I do believe I love...............keep shining keep smiling knowing you can always count on me for sure that's what friends are for.................Rest well and may light perceptual shine upon you.
LGBT Sports development has been the better for his presence along with others gone before him such as Michael Johnson whose shoes he tried to fill after his untimely death after a netball stint in the Caribbean.
RIP Ally and thanks.