Remembering American College Cricket Hall of Famer Colin Michael Jodah

At launch of the American College Cricket Hall of Fame in NYC Dec 2012: Lloyd, Colin Michael & Shiv Chanderpaul
©American College Cricket
 

Jan 18 was 5 years to the day that Colin Michael Jodah's innings ended, a short magnificent one at 56. Though blind for over 20 years (totally blind in one eye & very limited sight in the other due to the effects of diabetes - "legally blind" by USA definition) Colin was a major contributor to American College Cricket.

Accordingly he was, after Shiv Chanderpaul, the 2nd Inductee into the American College Cricket Hall of Fame (posthumously). He left a daughter Diane and 2 sons Dylan & Kris, and a sister Jacqueline and 2 brothers Errol and Lloyd, Founder & President of American College Cricket.

Named for English batsman Sir Michael Colin Cowdrey, Colin (his family members called him Michael) often told the story of how he taught a teenage Chanderpaul to play Dominoes, when Shiv lived with the Jodah family at 126 Regent Rd near to then Test venue, Bourda Cricket Ground. Shiv never forgot what the Jodahs did, and it made it easy for him to say "yes" when asked to support American College Cricket at the beginning - that's how the colleges play for the Shiv Chanderpaul Trophy.

After starting with 5 teams in 2009 the 2nd American College Cricket Spring Break Championship in March 2010 had 18 American universities,a Canadian & Special Guests University of the West Indies,plus the USA U19 that played in the 2010 world Cup was going to play. That meant a complicated schedule of over 50 matches in 4 days. Colin did the schedule then, in an egregious move, on the day before the start the USA U19 team was pulled out by the USA Cricket Association, and Colin had to redo the schedule that day. The final result was he did a 2nd schedule of 47 matches in 4 days, probably a record for the largest cricket tournament ever - whilst he was in the hospital !

March 2011 that record became 67 games in 5 days, again Colin did the schedule as he would also do in 2012 when the number of games were dropped to 54. Before that, in Fall of 2010 Regional tournaments were begun around the USA and Colin did the scheduling in 2010, 2011 & 2012 for 6 Regional tournaments each year. Behind the scenes he was a confidant to younger brother Lloyd and many lunches and dinners were places where cricket ideas were discussed, not to mention boisterous brotherly arguments about social & political issues.

In Feb 2010 England's "Cricket for Change", which was described at the time as the "largest disability cricket program in the world", came to NYC with a mission of spreading "blind cricket".Colin readily agreed to assist, and said, "It's really very inspiring" as he participated in the demonstrations. Apart from a Cricket for Change staff Colin was the only person present who could play cricket and was also blind, thereby becoming the first 'blind cricketer' in USA.

The program did not eventually get off the ground but it was a powerful way to empower visually impaired people, and Colin wanted to help as he himself was a great role model for how to face major health issues & challenges strongly, with a positive outlook and awesome sense of humor, as he battled the effects of diabetes including amputation and later transplants. On a day to day basis he traveled to work independently despite the difficulties. Lloyd explained,"Many times in the hospitals doctors thought Michael was dying but with incredible strength he would pull through so when a dialysis "shunt" in his arm burst and he bled to death alone at home it was sudden and shocking."

Like every boy in Guyana Colin played cricket (mainly a batsman), and was a pioneering athlete who played Field Hockey, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Badminton & Soccer competitively at Queen’s College, one of the top High Schools in the Commonwealth for elite students. After graduating he joined Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) which was based at Test venue Bourda Cricket Ground and played Hockey for them, eventually being selected to represent Guyana on an overseas tour and the Pan American Games.

However he had a complete compound fracture of his right arm during practice, and was out of the game for months during which time he learned to write etc with his left hand, before later returning to hockey, but by then was more occupied with work. At the time another younger brother Errol and 2 cousins Moses and Richard were playing Under 19 cricket for GCC. "With 2 sons representing the prestigious club it led to our Dad having one of his prized moments, when he was invited for to sit, for the first time, in the Member's Pavilion for a Test match" Lloyd reminisced.

Lloyd said, "As boys we played cricket every minute we could but at Queens College in those years the 3 cricket fields were in bad condition and cricket largely unorganized, so it was a major reason to try other sports. Michael played them all well, he was a tremendous athlete at a time when boys of Indian descent only played cricket, yet he became very good at other sports, eventually representing Guyana in Hockey, and he could have probably done the same in Table Tennis,and who knows with the rest. A brilliant person, he was an inspiration to us and actually influenced me in everything from cricket to music like introducing me to Rod Stewart and a lot of the musicians we sang along to, and I've listened to throughout my life. I constantly think of him and get inspiration from how he handled the tough issues of advanced diabetes with humor and unbelievable strength, attributes he no doubt got from our Mom & Dad."

Among Colin's many ideas was to have the American College Cricket North East Championship be played for the Deryck Aaron Jodah Trophy to honor a younger brother who had been killed in a car accident years before and fittingly when the Ivy League Championship was started in Sept 2013,it was decided that the it should be played for the Colin Michael Jodah Trophy. Colin was fittingly inducted posthumously into the ACC Hall of Fame in July 2013.