A ‘heart-warming’ tournament for Lindsay A. Burnett

A ‘heart-warming’ tournament for Lindsay A. Burnett

Nompumelelo Moyo (LJI)

On the weekend of May 17-19, Montreal United will host its annual basketball tournament with various divisions for girls and boys. The tournament will be held at the Notre Dame College at 3791 Queen Mary Road, Montreal, H3V 1A8.
This heart-warming event, formerly known as the Montreal United Invitational Basketball tournament, has been named the Lindsay A. Burnett tournament in honour of the late Lindsay Burnett, who passed away in 2021. Burnett, alongside Hugh Scarlett and Charles Boyce, started the tournaments and helped sponsor them.

“A total of 40 teams from Toronto, USA and
Montreal will be participating this year and we are all set for the weekend explains Scarlett, one of the organizers. Aside from the regular teams that participate every year, Scarlett says they received positive feedback when calling on other teams interested in participating to register. Many teams wanted to participate, but Scarlett says they had to screen the teams on a first-come, first-served basis.
Scarlett says these tournaments are important because they unite communities and positively impact young people.

“Sports keeps the young people occupied, gives them a place of belonging and sense of community, “says Scarlett. Having grown up playing the sport under the Martin L. King tournament, Scarlett played for semi-professional teams around the city. Charles Boyce, his co-founder, was a member of the NDG-BCA, which explains the quality of the players they produce.
They both benefitted from such an initiative started by the community. They understand the importance of giving young people opportunities and keeping them engaged and out of the streets.
During those years, Scarlett explains that they were fortunate enough to have access to gyms seven days a week, allowing more training to improve their skills. The City of Montreal operated the NDG recreational center, allowing players access to those facilities. Scarlett and others who were part of the NDG Black Community Association saw an opportunity to grow the game. They started organising these tournaments that brought top players from Montreal, Toronto and USA.
However, when the association closed its doors, Scarlett and others formed Montreal United as an instrument to assist upcoming basketballers with participating in tournaments and traveling across Canada and the United States.
Scarlett says their challenge is getting access to the gym, which is affecting the training sessions. In 2017, Scarlett said they would love it if the City of Montreal offered them regular access to a gym in the NDG area. He says this would
motivate the children to commit to the game. That request is still on the table, and he still hopes their pleas will be heard.
In addition, Scarlett mentions the financial challenges of putting together such events. Montreal hosts this tournament once every year. “Had it not been for one major sponsor, donations and gift cards from locals, such tournaments would have been achievable,” says Scarlett.
Montreal United must also travel for away games to places such as Boston,
Toronto, Philadelphia, New York, and Brooklyn. That requires money, hence the need for financial backing.

“We do not focus on sport only but care about the children’s education,” says Scarlett. One of the ways to enhance their education is a planned trip to the
Caribbean to teach the children, who are primarily from the Islands, about their roots. They have partnered with organisations that they use to refer children who need help in their studies; one such organisation they are working with is QBBE.

All Montrealers are invited to come and support the young sportsmen and women and motivate them. You can be sure Montreal United will do us proud.