IN THE SPOTLIGHT
SIMONE FORBES AN ATHLETE FOR ALL SEASONS
By Duane Coombs
Sunday March 19, 2017
If there ever is a debate about the greatest all-round athlete to have emerged from Excelsior High School, it is likely that the name Simone Forbes would feature prominently in the discussion.
Simone holds the remarkable distinction of having represented Jamaica in no less than four sports – netball, football, softball and volleyball – and in so doing, she has etched her name in the annals of Jamaican sports.
She is arguably the best and most versatile athlete to have come out of Excelsior High School; and is perhaps one of the greatest sports women ever produced by Jamaica.
It is likely that should Excelsior ever get around to setting up a Hall of Fame, Simone Forbes would, possibly, be among the first inductees.
Excelsior High School has played a pivotal role in Simone’s development. This was where her incredible journey started, and where she first earned her reputation as a netball player of some note. She later went on to captain the Jamaica national Senior Netball team.
Yet, she was equally adept at a variety of other sports, which she gradually added during her school career.
“I realized very early that I had the talent and it was transferable to any sport I tried; so I attempted everything” she explains as she reflects on her remarkable journey.
But there was also a practical motive behind this decision.
“I grew up in humble circumstances in August Town, with a single mother who had two young children attending Excelsior,” she reminisces.
“We weren’t rich and one of the reasons I got involved in other sports at school was that you would get free lunches. I wanted my younger sister to be able to purchase things she needed, just like her friends, so I was able to give her my lunch money because I got free meals.”
From early, Simone was determined to use sports as her passport to a better life, and she focused on achieving this goal. She attended Excelsior between 1994 and 2000 and graduated with a slew of sporting accolades.
Since then, she has parlayed her sporting prowess into numerous scholarships– from G.C. Foster College, through Mercy College, New York to The University of the West Indies (UWI).
Simone was first called to Jamaica’s national teams in football, netball and softball while she was still a schoolgirl.
But it was in a fourth sports, volleyball, through which she earned a scholarship to Mercy College from which she graduated with a BSc in Management. She subsequently earned the Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Mona School of Business, UWI.
However, she admits that she was an indifferent student for most of her high school life, until she had an awakening almost at the end of her time at Excelsior.
She decided to pull up her socks at the urging and persistent prodding…