He was the last standing man of a cadre of dedicated and hard-working devotees of cricket, whose relentless and indomitable spirit is unparalleled. In past years, we bade farewell to George Berridge and Peter Molyneux, and just this year to the legendary Clifford Cox. Now, it is to the silver-haired venerable Mr. Jack Kyle.
Kyle passed away on Thursday, June 21 at the age of 82.
His copious achievements and multi-gifted cricket career spanned over a period of 60 years. His unrivalled local and national accomplishments deserve universal plaudits and accolades. I know of no one who has made a greater contribution to Canadian cricket from the local neophyte grassroots level to the competitive senior level for as long a period as Jack.
Words seem to lack the sufficiency to adequately reflect or capture the vast contributions of the man, which put him in a class all by himself.
There are three aspects of his achievements reflected in three chronological stages of his cricket career. First, we experienced his dominance as a player. He frequently led the batting averages in the 1950s and '60s, scoring many centuries, which was no ordinary feat on the slow mat-on-grass wickets of those decades.
As his later coaching would reflect, he was an orthodox batsman, drilled in the fundamentals and rudiments of the game.
I was always impressed with Jack's undisturbed concentration during an innings. His name appears several times on the Bradman Batting Trophy of the B.C. Mainland League.
His contributions shifted from player to president of the Canadian Cricket Association for most of the two decades during the 1980s and '90s.
He has the distinction of having the longest presidency in the history of Canadian cricket. That speaks for itself. During and under his leadership, Canada made consistent progress as an ICC associate member. Jack played a major role in the introduction and development of grassroots and school programs to foster the growth of cricket among the indigenous population.
The third and perhaps most important contribution for Jack, was his coaching of youngsters. He would take a youngster from not being able to hold a bat, to competing provincially and nationally.
His energy and passion for coaching youngsters was always tireless and never ending. Up to the evening before he left us, he was training his group. With Jack, you generally expected to show up for practice whether it rained or not. And of course, he loved winning.
As a coach, Jack did not allow changes in local or national leadership to deter him from his resolute focus on developing youth cricket. He always found or created a way to continue programs in progress. His peaceful and non-confrontational nature made it easy for him to work with anybody. And when you gave him a job, you know it will be done, and done well and thoroughly and without any supervision necessary.
Jack's Summer Cricket Camp would also attest to his autonomous talents. It was a one-man operation, undaunted by the challenges of funding, sponsorship or numbers registered. He would make it happen no matter what. Jack would also give a complete financial and thorough report on every task assigned to him or even those he assigned to himself. The old faithful typewriter he used to generate his reports also deserves an accolade! The Kyle Cup was created in his honour to encourage and maintain competitive junior cricket between Vancouver and Victoria.
Jack's departing leaves us with great sadness, but also with a sweet and pleasant memory and an inspiring challenge ahead.
The Bible says, "The memory of the righteous will be a blessing." I will always remember Jack.