Quarrie wants rebranding of Stadium's 'bleachers'
IF it was up to the legendary Donald Quarrie, the 'bleachers' monicker given to the uncovered section of the National Stadium would be rebranded to alleviate the fears and negative thinking of patrons not wanting to utilise that section of the facility.
And if it was up to the fans, the section would be renamed the Don Quarrie Stand following his gold and silver medal exploits in the 200m and 100m at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in Canada.
But the track and field icon, now the technical director of Jamaica's athletics team has a name in mind — The East Wing.
Though not final on the name, the East Wing, or any other suitable name that might pop up, would be a more 'people friendly' name than 'bleachers', which carries the stigma of being linked to the poorer class of the society and might be more accommodating, Quarrie argues.
"The stigma about not going to the bleachers... something needs to be done to let us create the atmosphere," said Quarrie, at the Jamaica Observer's Monday Exchange.
"People want to come but they are afraid. We can call it East Wing or something," added Quarrie.
"At the Jamaica International Meet (JII), most of the managers didn't have a seat and I took them over there and the beauty about that is that even after they got up and left, no one took their seats because the people over there felt... 'Oh, they are are a part of us," noted Quarrie.
At the recent Supreme Ventures Senior Athletics Championships, fans were asked to pay up to $5,000 for season tickets for the more coveted Grandstand section.
Last weekend, daily Grandstand tickets ranged from $1,500 to $2,500 and are usually are purchased by middle- and upper-class patrons as it offers shelter from rain or the sweltering sun.
In contrast, it took only $500 to enter the bleachers section, which offers no shelter from the elements and is normally a melting pot of the wider society.