James Lloyd Kennedy
Year Inducted: 1990
A veteran contributor to the founding and building of the Glengarry Highland Games since they were launched, July 31, 1948, James Lloyd Kennedy will be enshrined in the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame, Wednesday, September 12, at the induction ceremony in the Maxville and District Sports Complex.
Lloyd Kennedy is a son of the late William Kennedy and his late wife the former Flora “Sandy Angus” McDonell. He is a typical Glengarry “farm boy” having spent the nearing four score years of his life at the Kennedy family pioneer home, Lot 10, Third Kenyon.
During the spring seeding, 1948, walking behind the plow and spring tooth harrow, Lloyd’s thoughts centered on the approaching, July 31, Highland Games in Maxville that included the famed revival features of tossing the caber and throwing the hammer.
Despite his age, 34, when most athletes are heading to retirement, Lloyd was still an agile box lacrosse goal keeper with Alexandria Maroons in Glengarry Gardens. Still debating the challenge, Lloyd recalled that Loch Garry’s “Big Alex MacIsaac” (MacDonald) won the world’s caber toss championship at the British Empire Forces “Games” in England after World War One, 1919, and he was in that age bracket, so why not accept the challenge?
That is exactly what the six foot, 185 pounder of brawn, athletic skills and desire did, ably assisted in the decision by the same “Big Alex MacIsaac.”
Unknown to most of us (neighbors) Lloyd Kennedy six weeks before the Highland Games became a caber tossing protege of the now again world champion “Big Alex MacIsaac,” living in retirement at the “Ranald MacIsaac” (MacDonald) homestead across the fields from historic Loch Garry.
The training began with a shorter and much lighter caber than standard size, one that Lloyd hewed from a cedar tree. Technique was stressed by the master.
Lloyd demonstrated his natural adaptability from the beginning and a second caber, longer and heavier, was required thus maintaining steady progress towards eligibility for Highland Games competition.
By this time Lloyd was mastering the technique of picking up a caber, posture; balance; run and toss. He was told to go to the “bush” and get about a 20 foot, 120 pound caber. In the sport jargon, “Lloyd Kennedy never looked back.” In the advance revival publicity of the approaching Glengarry Highland Games there was a sports story confirming that two members of the Toronto Police Athletic Association would compete at the Maxville Games and they were rated in the champion class of tossing the caber at Highland Games in Toronto and area.
The thought of meeting such experienced athletes would crumble the enthusiasm of any novice competitor for the first time in highland heavy events. But not Lloyd Kennedy.
There was considerable program confusion at the July 31 first Highland Games, after many dormant years, due to the estimated crowd of 17,000 that was 10,000 more than expected.
Late in the day the infield was cleared for the feature sports event - tossing the caber. The Toronto police entries were dressed in the latest style track and field uniforms.
Then, for a moment, the encircling crowd wondered about the identy of the tall, brush cut athlete, flashing a relaxed grin, in casual slacks and blending sports shirt. Why, that is Alexandria’s box lacrosse goal keeper, Lloyd Kennedy. The response was instant acclaim, evidence of the crowd’s delight that a native son was competing. That wave of welcome applause gained momentum to a rousing cheer that could be heard beyond historic Christie’s Pitt as Lloyd Kennedy defeated the Toronto police in each of the three distance tosses.
The rest is 43 years of contributing to the history of Glengarry Highland Games Scottish heavy events. At least 10 years successive champion from that great opening “Games.” Continuity as an instructor and official.
Lloyd Kennedy has deservedly earned the honor of enshrinement in the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame along with mighty men of Glengarry’s pioneer track and field heritage, especially world champions “Big Rory” McLennan, hammer throw and “Big Alex MacIsaac” MacDonald, the caber toss.