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About the author
- Colin B. Hyde writes stories for the young-at-heart. Find them at Smashwords.com -
The author wasn’t a very studious boy. An ‘incentive’ made me into a scholarship winner in primary school, and an ‘incentive’ made me pass the five O’ levels I sat in high school - English Language, English Literature, History, Mathematics, and Biology.
I almost failed Standard Five (the seventh grade in some countries). My dad, who knows a good gamble, knew he couldn’t lose when he offered me a bike if I aced the scholarship exam in Standard Six. If I miraculously won a scholarship he would have to buy me a bike. But he wouldn’t have to pay my school fees.
I drifted through high school. Thanks to my mom, who threatened to throw me out of her house if I didn’t sit my O’ levels, I signed up for five of them. But I was set to fail them all, until the school’s principal, Sister Mary Sarita Vasquez, found my key—and turned it.
The best thing about school was sports. I was the leader of the sports program at my high school - Belmopan Comprehensive School. Football is my favourite sport but I didn’t play it that much in high school because we didn’t have enough serious players to make a team. Our best players came from the villages – Roaring Creek, Camalote, Teakettle, and Ontario. They had to take the bus, or ride bicycles, to get home after school, so it wasn’t often they could stay after school to practice.
Our football team didn’t have much success. We lost twice to Sacred Heart College (Cayo), and drew with them once. We lost in overtime to the Belize City Champions, St. Michael’s College.
The boys in Belmopan preferred basketball. That game was completely new to me. I remember the first time I went out to play. I couldn’t reach the rim (with the ball) from the free-throw line. I got a little ‘fundamentals’ in my game when I was in Third Form. I noticed the younger boys at school hanging around a gentleman named Larry Scott, a Peace Corp, and I asked to join in. Through Larry Scott I learned to ‘pick-and-roll’, run a ‘two on one’ and a ‘three on two’ fast break, and to lead a one-two-two zone defense.
I learned to shoot a basketball during my fourth year at high school. One day we took down the backboard to repair it. That was the first time I saw a basketball rim up close. I couldn’t believe how easily the basketball fit inside it.
We played four games and won them all. We vanquished Sacred Heart twice. We defeated St. Michael’s College. And we blew out Nets, the second place team in the Belize City Junior Competition.
Somebody didn’t like how I was using her school—just to play ball. One afternoon I was lounging about the school building we called Block B, when the principal came up beside me, pinned one of my ears, backed me against a wall, and said very sternly: Hyde, if you fail your exams not another boy will play ball in my school.
I loved being the ‘lead dog’ but I wasn’t a greedy player. Basketball and football are team sports. If you don’t love team you’re in the wrong games. After our annual intra-school competition ended in February, I quit playing ball and set about doing right for the younger heroes at our school.
When I walked away from sports in high school, I thought that was the end of my basketball career. But I did play again, briefly, after one of my brothers died. I thought maybe I could find some joy on the court so I tried out for a team in the senior basketball league in Belize City. It didn’t work out. My body was a little rusty, after not playing basketball for almost two years, and there was no ‘competition’ in my heart. I handed in my gears after just a couple of games.
My five O’ levels were sufficient to get me into junior college on a scholarship, but I went to sea instead - to fish, to dive conchs, and to trap lobsters. After two years at sea, I took a year off to study at the newly formed Belize School of Agriculture, my intent being to work on both land and sea after I graduated from school. I performed well at the school, earning the prestigious student of the year award, the very first.
My plan to work both land and sea didn’t pan out. I became a full-fledged landlubber; I didn’t go back to sea for over twenty years. My work on the land took me to every district, city, town and village in my country. I worked as a supervisor on a farm that produced citrus (Belize Food Products Ltd.), and on a farm that produced cacao and plantains (Hummingbird Hershey Ltd.). I worked as a research technician in the production of rice and soybeans (Cardi-Caricom Farms Ltd.). I worked as a private farmer (vegetable production). And I worked as an educator of farmers (Belize Pesticides Control Board).
It was during my stint as an educator, while producing training manuals and pamphlets, that I discovered that I enjoyed writing. In 2003 I got the opportunity to write for Belize’s leading newspaper, the Amandala. I produced a weekly essay for a little over ten years. During this period I also wrote a number of small books (novels, plays, and poetry), some of them published here at Smashwords. com
Colin Hyde the novelist is very different from Colin Hyde the sportsman. I was a fierce competitor in the sports arena. I didn’t sleep well when my team lost a game. If I met a boy who had a better game than I had, I ‘went all out’ to make sure that when we met again, I was boss.
I love my stories and want people to appreciate them. But I don’t sweat about my place in the world of writers. Maybe that’s because I discovered my passion for writing when I was well past my childhood.
Colin B. Hyde was born in Belize City, British Honduras (Belize), in 1957. He is married and the father of two children. His published pieces include: Unbridled (poetry), They Stole Whopper’s Snapper (prose), First Encounter (prose), The Curse of the Hnf (prose), Borly and the Slick Jaymz Gang (prose), Invasion of the Mangrove Goons (prose), Growing up in Old Belize (childhood autobiography), Possession Woes (prose), and You Must Take Naomi (play).