Clarendon College's Lamar Walker living up to promise
The beautiful rhythmic play of Clarendon College has been one of the sights to behold in this season's schoolboy football competition. It has renewed the hope of some that the football artistry that most fans enjoy, as opposed to the ugly brutality that has been taking over the local game, is alive and well and will return to the fore.
The above is the kind of football Lenworth 'Teacha' Hyde played is his active days and with willing students such as the vertically-challenged and slightly-built midfielders Demario Phillips, Shande James and Lamar Walker, a public football class was always going to be held. Of these three bright students, the one which perhaps has most people waxing now is 17 year-old Lamar Walker.
Walker's rise is due to the combination of a God-given talent, a deep love for the game, a desire to work and the ability to spot talent according his father, Peron "Pancho" Walker.
"It is in his blood. I played football and taught my two younger brothers Nicholas Forbes who played youth football for Jamaica and Kenardo Forbes who played for the senior team," said the elder Walker who makes his living as a construction worker.
The special talent he said was spotted in his youngest son from as early as two years old when he started kicking around the "baby coconuts" that fell from the in the yard. From that he started kicking stuffed drink boxes with his older brothers Remar and Omar, the elder Walker said.
Things started to take shape for Lamar Walker when he was spotted by coach Patrick 'Jackie' Walters as an eight year-old.
'There was a Happy Sutherland Knock Out match between Portmore United and Naggo Head in Portmore and at half time he ran onto the field with some other little boys to play. Jackie Walters who was around the Portmore team at the time, couldn't keep his eyes off him. It was as if he was mesmerised. He finally called him and asked him who he lived with and wrote his number on a paper for me to call him," Explained Peron Walker.
The elder Walker met with Walters at Ferdie Neita Park.
"At Ferdie Neita Park Jackie asked me about Lamar's age and the school he went to. When I told him he was eight and that he attended Braeton, he said he would waste there and if I could get him somewhere else. I told him I needed help and he called someone and told him that he has a good little boy and would send him to the school with his father," Walker explained.
Lannaman's was where the younger Walker ended up and came under the influence of "Mr. Williams, Mr. Webb, Mr. Russell and Janet. These people played a great role in his life at Lannaman's until he was again influenced by Jackie to go to Clarendon College like his brother Remar".
But while he stayed in the formal school structure, Walker who said he assumed sole responsibility for his eldest and youngest sons after a break up with his common-law wife, who kept the middle son Omar, he did a lot of work with Lamar.
"One of the great things about him is that he is never afraid to work hard and he really loves the football. He never backed down from any training I gave him. He was hungry for success but I really have to give Jackie Credit for putting him on the path," Walker said of his son who was dropped from the last Under-17 squad "because they said he was too small".
That lack of size did not affect his as subsequent to that and leading up this schoolboy season, "he won the Under-17 and Under-20 titles with Portmore United in the St. Catherine competition and was the MVP for the Under-20 and he only turned 17 in September.
Despite Lamar's obvious gifts, his father who has who has consistently told his son that he will "be the next Lionel Messi", he wants to ensure that he is balanced and has options.
"It is really a scholarship that I want him to get. He is doing his schoolwork now and I always tell him that he cannot have the foot and not the head, there must be both and even if he goes into a professional environment, I want him to continue his learning," the elder Walker said as he ponders life ahead for his gifted son.