(Trinidad Guardian) Just another typical hazy day in Debe South Trinidad as Guardian Media make its way into the bustling Lall’s Shopping Complex in search of Vishal ‘Nick’ Ramnarine the man known as Saint Nick to young cricketers in the South.
Sitting behind a small desk at his establishment Nick’s Sporting Goods, with his best friend and wife Anna Lisa Ramnarine behind the showcase, Nick invites us in. When questioned as to the degree of his generosity with young cricketers, he shies away and remarks :”It is a small thing.” However, Guardian Media understands that Nick and Anna has been tremendously generous with cricketers in the south and has had a hand in the development of many of them. When young cricketers come to the store they always leave with something whether they have money or not. Nick has decided that he wants to assist young people and using sport is the way he intends to do that. He has been sponsoring young cricketers through the proceeds of his store and his wife has been very supportive of this.
Questioned as to his reason for giving so much he said :”We cannot see a young cricketer come in here and look at stuff and wonder if and when they would ever get it. Anna and I love children and we love to see the smiles on their faces. We have decided that we will do our little part to help in developing the young ones. Too many people are critical of the country and the people and I while I admit that things are not the best at the moment, those who are criticising are not helping to better the situation.
“If we get young men to focus on sport we can make a difference. So when they come to us, we do our best to make sure that are on the cricket field, or football field because we must not lose these guys to other influences which may not be good. Giving a child equipment that may change their life is nothing for us. We want to help make a positive difference, so I am inviting people to come to the store and see us and get your gears at fantastic prices and partner with us in giving your kids a bright future in sport.”
Nick has helped many senior cricketers as well, as he believes that having someone there for them, will make a huge impact. He would normally take their bats home to his house to ‘knock in’ for better performances much to the chagrin of his neighbours. Those who he has sponsored will always have him to lean on, even when it comes to their studies because he thinks holistic development is the way to go. “I try to advise and we are present for the guys in terms of guiding them towards a better education. I was an avid cricketer growing up and had to make a choice between cricket and academics. Of course my father dictated that I go into the academics, as according to him ‘cricket will always be there’.
“I think now that one can choose sport and education together and this can work beautifully hand in hand. I am seeing it with some of my guys, as they are mixing the both to good effect.”
On any day, Nicks Sporting Goods becomes a conference room for cricket talk, as many cricket aficionados go to him to talk ‘shop’. He has gained a great clientèle for his products, which he sells at a reduce cost and uses proceeds to help fund his agenda of giving.