By John L. Aaron
In one part of New York City a graduating high school senior is stabbed to death in a parking lot following his just concluded high school graduation ceremony, in the Bronx. Indeed, a tragic loss for the family of the young high school football star with such a promising future.
It’s a parent’s nightmare having brought any child along so far, so well, and so promising.
In another part of New York City, a promising young man graduates high school and celebrates a sporting accomplishment the same day. Two sets of parents, two sets of hopes, two sets of ambitions, two promising careers in sports, one marred by a tragic circumstance, one celebrated.
Clifford Hamilton did not know Isayah Muller, nor did they ever meet each other. Why the parallels? They both graduated high school and experienced different circumstances shortly thereafter, and following their cap and gown ceremonies on graduation day.
Isayah Muller, 19, was a high school football star who graduated from Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx, NY and was tragically killed on the same day. The Truman Mustangs running back reportedly ran for 290 yards and scored two touchdowns last November, as the Mustangs won their first-ever PSAL Bowl title.
Such a promising football star cut down in the prime of his youthful life, just hours after his graduation ceremony and during an argument his father was engaged in with a couple of parking lot attendants that turned ugly, near Lehman College in the Bronx.
Across the Whitestone Bridge and at “The Cage” in Queens, high school graduate Clifford Hamilton, 17, last Sunday graduated from Elmont Memorial High School in Elmont, NY and attended his graduation ceremony at Hofstra University on Long Island. Hours later Clifford would take strike from the umpire in The Cage at Baisley Pond Park in Queens, and for his team Golden Arrow/Tenelec Cricket Club in the Eastern American Cricket Association league.
The youngest player on the team that includes some veteran cricket players, high school graduate Hamilton would open the batting for his team against Atlantis Cricket Club, led by another 2011 high school graduate Prashanth Nair.
What is remarkable about Hamilton’s performance on the day of his celebrating graduation from high school was the fact that the young wicket-keeper batsman would top score for his team with 88 not out, batting out all 40 overs allotted to his team, a feat many older players fail to accomplish on the best of their days.
Hamilton’s accomplishment may be seen as a coming-of-age celebration, as his mother Angel watched from the sidelines, like an angel protecting her charge. The batsman’s top score, albeit in a losing cause for Golden Arrow/Tenelec was an exercise in patience, stroke-play, tenacity, and love for the sport he started playing at a much earlier age in his native Guyana, before migrating to the USA with his mother Angel Welch. He would not reach the much coveted ton of runs (100), because his team ran out of overs. Not a tragic thing in itself, because there will always be next Sunday. However, the Mustangs running back Isayah Muller tragically ran out of time in a parking lot.
Top scorer Clifford Hamilton celebrated his graduation with teammates and his mother by his side, grinning from ear-to-ear. The Elmont Memorial High School wrestling and baseball star, plans on attending City College of the City University of New York, to study architecture this fall on a full academic scholarship. He hopes to be selected to the cricket team at City College – a part of the American College Cricket program.
Carla Angel Welch said she was extremely proud of her son’s accomplishments and noted, “He has come a long way in cricket, since coming to the USA.” The single-parent Mom, who tries to attend all of her son Clifford’s matches, said she is very supportive of his efforts both in school and on the cricket field.
The shy and somewhat reserved young cricketing talent also plays in the NYPD Cricket League alongside USA Under-19 star all-rounder Azurdeen “Andy” Mohammed, for the Superstars.
Young Hamilton says he’s looking forward to attending City College this fall and feels very confident that he will accomplish his goal of becoming an architect, because he already took more than three advanced courses in architecture in his senior year in high school and on the latest computer-aided architecture software. He’s well on his way.
Two lives, one tragedy, one celebration – salvage a future in architecture and USA cricket.
Clifford Hamilton said, “I was happy with my score last Sunday, but was disappointed that my team lost the match.”
Our children are our future and we need to cherish their accomplishments, and encourage them on and off the field, while we hope they grow up, aspire, graduate, and accomplish their own dreams without tragedy.
Let’s continue to celebrate running back Isayah Muller’s accomplishments in his short span here, through the feats of an emerging cricket star Clifford Hamilton.