Daughter of sporting icon expresses gratitude for overwhelming outreach from public

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By Carlena Knight

Mickel Brann-Challenger, the daughter of sporting and cultural icon, the late director of sports Fitzroy Brann, expressed her amazement with the stories of the lives that her father would have touched in his lifetime.

“Generally, even before his passing, I would have people give me their Fitzroy Brann moment or their different moments. Some of it is off the wall and some of it is so characteristic of him; and especially since his passing, I’ve had so many phone calls, like I am amazed at the people from literally all walks of life, cutting across gender lines, and everyone having a personal story of something that he’s done,” Mickel Brann said while a guest on Wednesday’s Good Morning Jojo Sports Show.

One of those stories is from a former colleague and friend of her father, Mervyn Richards, who also shared his recollections of the late former sports director on yesterday’s show.

“[Fitzroy] Brann was … a sports enthusiast and a lover of the arts and culture, a writer, editor; let’s just say he was a special brand, but the most important thing that’s lacking today is the advancement of persons. He believed in pushing people to the limit,” Richards said.

Mickel Brann continued by speaking briefly of her father’s vision; mainly the impact of his work at “clean corner” or YMCA.

“I think the whole mantra was a clean corner. I think he was interested in doing that in the communities, but definitely as the epicenter – was his word – in St. John’s. He was about the decentralization of sports as well, and doing that in the communities. But once you came to St. John’s, YMCA was meant to be the clean corner.

“There was always an eye so you know there were no weapons, no profanity, there was no smoking, there was nothing; it was meant to be the clean corner where you could come, play sports, interact and keep it moving. I think a lot of parents took them at their word with what they were doing because it wasn’t my dad single-handedly, it was [him] and his staff and everybody else, because he didn’t sell you the reality, he sold you the vision,” she said.

Although many have shared their personal ideas of how Fitzroy Brann should be honoured, Mickel Brann believes the best way to do so is by continuing the work her father started.

“How do you honour a legacy of Fitzroy Brann? We would have had a Rupert “Rugby” Lake and other people who would have done that. I think people’s minds move immediately to some kind of monument, to something tangible. I think the best way we honour people like these is to do the work,” she stated. “Just continue doing the work, so we can get up and say we went from here to there and we did the work and that’s how you honour them.

“My father was a Pan-Africanist and a worker and there is an African proverb that says ‘we plant trees [in] whose shade we may never rest’; and that’s what you do.”

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