‘Tis the night before Christmas…

Ian Thorpe presents his 30th yule season sports poem.

’Tis the night before Christmas, and all through the town,Not an athlete is stirring, as leagues are shut down.But sports fans are watching their doorstep with care,Knowing the Bulletin soon will be there.

And for 30 years now, my gift at this timeHas been holiday greetings in form of a rhyme.I admit that my poetry needs some improvement;It causes more protests than Occupy movement!

But the purpose again in this festive reportIs to praise many people involved with a sport;So I’ve made up a list, and checked it with care;My apologies, though, for names that aren’t there…

Kids of all ages play hockey with glee,As Beatty, Borelli, and Paul will agree.Sharun and Paugh coached girls of Extreme;Bantams for Hardy had plenty of steam.

Silvertips players for Lemmon do skate;With Islanders ladies can Herzig relate.Brzovic’s focus is hockey with ball;Ringette in arena sees Christie stand tall.

Robillard, Hodgson, are head referees;McCarthy leads skaters with old-timers’ knees.Vokins and Edwards get teams on the ice,With Gold and with Monk, Mielty and Tyce.

At Frank Crane Arena, things seem a bit strange;This year for our Clippers was one of great change:New owners with Hrudey first made their approach;Then Vandekamp hired as manager/coach.

In rebuilding season, Fitzgerald wears ‘C’;McCormack gets points and is leader on D.There’s Gladiuk, Cyr, and Kramer the vet,With Faust or with Eiserman tending the net.

Now out on the pitch, where soccer teams stand,Cochrane and Stephens have things well in hand.Curr promotes games that are seven-a-side;Academy players are Pomeroy’s pride.

President Roden heads youth soccer club;Neibel and Crumpton help players to sub.There’s Dick and Boyetchko, also Labelle;Of Pony League action will Rutherford tell.

Isbister, Sommerfeld, work with a will,With Jakobsen, Clark, Doumont and Till.Development Centre do coaches applaud,Led by director whose name is Coach Claude!

Nanaimo United has Tuckey and Dunn;Men’s team for Davison plays in Div. 1.There’s Adams, McKenzie, and Zirkl as well;Manager Jorgensen helps the team jell.

Mariner women had coaching from Kang;Men’s team on necks, bronze medal did hang.So Stephens, Ewashko, and Mercer could cheer,With Merriman chosen as Coach of the Year!

To football we pass, where Russell is boss;Redmen for Roden some touchdowns did toss.Flag football action in Harewood took flight,With Cooper, Fitzgerald, and teams mighty mite.

Raiders Abassi and Blokker were pleased,As Yantz set new record for passing TDs.Running up scores did opponents offend,But playoff at Cali saw winning streak end.

Football at high schools this season was great,As Stevenson brothers can quickly relate.Islanders players won banner Tier 2;With Uddenberg, Wall, Cheng and the crew.

Juniors from Barsby did championship clinch,Say Taylor and Parker, Vollet and Lynch.Seniors in final were barely outscored,With Berg winning varsity player award.

At Pioneer Park, where rugby teams formed,For Hancock and Wicks, Hornets men swarmed.Women’s team Hornets had Ellsmere on side;And provincial title to point out with pride.

Lacrosse this past season saw Timbermen play,As Nicholson, Webster, and Ranger will say.Tiebreaker format sank team senior A,With Ratcliff suspended so he couldn’t play!

For senior B efforts, Dubyna gave thanks;King was on board, then made way for Banks.Junior teams also did well on the season;With Bremner and Morrison part of the reason.

On junior girls’ team, silver medal was nice,For Angell and Ferguson, Jordan and Price.Lacrosse out of doors involved Raiders on field,As Shires, McDougall, and Boas revealed.

Minor lacrosse featured Cawthorne and Frech;Thompson and Lehman helped everything mesh.As choice for Lacrosse Boy, Odynsky was fine;Top honours for coaching saw Salmon on line.

Now turning to summer, when weather was nice,Petersen, Wells, gave softball advice.Thorner and Woods ensured slo-pitch was played,With Elmore and Moore, Spencer and Shade.

Fastball for minors had Nichol make plays;Larsen with Benker and Wilbey rate praise.Diamonds like Conway and Fargo shone bright,As Johnson, Roberge, and Wallace could cite.

Senior men’s fastball was played at the park;Mainwaring and Condon would watch until dark.Snyder with Harlow and Levins had fun;Budget won final by two games to one!

Baseball for kids featured Leaf and MacNeil;Peewees won Westerns – quite a big deal!Premier league Pirates a pennant could wave,Which Rogers, McCarthy, and Sabo did crave.

Ballance led Coal Miner men on the field;Bats for Blundell did the Mariners wield.Poulin and Moore carried umpire clout;Griffin signed deal as a major league scout!

Now turning to games that are played on a court,Walleyball action does Kossey support.Jenkins and Shahi for tennis are keen;Newsome and Fox, at Westwood are seen.

For Tildsley and Morgan, squash is the sport;Allin hits birdies on badminton court.Players like Cassels and Yim never tire,With coaching from Walker and also McGuire.

Rounis, O’Connor, and Philip will stressVolleyball basics for teams of Express.With Mark and Letourneau, Woiden and Epp;Johnson and Lum guide teams to next step.

Savrtka and Warren with volleyballs set;Carver on sand enjoys spiking at net.With Avender, Hyde, the Mariners cheer,Hoping at nationals soon to appear.

Basketball prowess on court we can startWith Simpson and Nicks, Spillman and Hart.For Mariner coaches McWhinnie and Bryce,Berth in the playoffs would really be nice.

A league for the ladies gets Worden to run;Stevens and Hiemstra have Friday night fun.Men’s league has Letham, Williams and Bains;To referee Tang, no one complains!

To alleys with pins now quickly we roll;Gruninger, Johnson, at Splitsville do bowl.Ranger and Thompson achieved perfect game;Park with her scoring won national fame.

For five pins at Brechin, Brittain is boss,Say Eby, Boudot, Miller and Cross;Friskie and Mazur think striking is neat;Coulson was perfect, and that’s quite a feat!

On lawn is where Sherry and Taylor will bowl,With Gibson and Towns, Dawkin and Cole.Field hockey players with Eby agree;Hassell likes cricket, then maybe some tea!

Rayner and Miller have horseshoes to throw;Baldassi at target shoots arrow from bow.Parenteau and Robins have things well in hand,As now fish and game club owns plenty of land.

Out golfing goes Harper, and Davison too;Hill and Michell always strike the ball true.New range at Beban caused Barber to smile,With Boyle and Young, and also Delisle.

Gordon for Mariners hit her shots straight;Of amateur title could Hrabowych state.Baker and Hatchwell can golf without peer;Anjarwalla and Evans, and also Valliere.

MacDonald and Morris are players with skill;Plenty of birdies give Symbaluk thrill.Murray scores well, and also does Hughes;Together they count all the golf balls I lose!

Now into the pool, where swimmers do well;Riptides with Irwin and Flood can excel.There’s Bourgeois and Whiteley, Crosby, Tearoe;DellaRosa and Mortlock, and also Munro.

White Rapids in summer created a stir,With Goodman, McGonigle, Vida and Der.As Kossey, De Pol, and Saunders relate,Taekema in breaststroke a record did break!

Smythe will get synchronized Diamonds to sparkle,With Trenchard and Dougan, Costello and Bartle.Sanderson, Ricketts, with Ebbtides are wet;Ryan at Games did some gold medals get.

Rinald coaches rowers on top of the brine;Crowley with silver at Pan Ams was fine.Champion and Rathy give wakeboarding show;Paddlers are Hume, Haywood and Rowe.

Racing comes Kraft, with Cross in canoe;At Games in the summer, they knew what to do.Hobbs likes to yacht, and Christie to sail;At diving with scuba will Richer prevail.

As weather gets colder, and snow does arrive,Skiers like Gilchrist and Adam do thrive.Erickson often likes blazing in snow;Donald with Riders will snowboarding go.

When water will freeze, there’s skating on ice;Rushton and Hawkes will attest that it’s nice.Cameron sees skaters cut figures or dance:MacDonald, Lagary, Moore and LaChance.

Now knowing that curlers will soon all be there,Horton makes ice at the rink with great care.On Duffell and Purney, Waatainen too;On Whittam and Woods, the manager true.

On Gummer and Gallo, and Carters so great;On Adams and Stonehouse, those seniors who rate.On Ruth who is able to skip without fear;My partner in curling, and wife who is dear.

Rhythmic gymnastics does Hooyberg do;Windecker, Crowe, keep gymnasts in view.Lainchbury, Hatch, competed with pride;Brenner and Lum represented Flipside.

Boxing in rink is what Creswell does love;Grossgardt and Tran both won Golden Glove.Wrestlers on mat include Yewchin, Van Hest;Sisters named Tuck were a pair of the best.

Kickboxing tactics Arnott will explain;Baxter with Shepherd and Ingalls all train.Mixed martial arts features Hinchliffe in rage;Spencer with Punt won a battle in cage.

Of martial arts benefits Crossley will preach;Art of jiu-jitsu does Frederiksen teach.Provencher to students aikikai can show;Kim for his classes will do taekwondo.

Larsen and Cura of judo can tell;For Sheeley and Semple, karate is swell.On training at Shima is Alvarez sold;Darmadi for Nordli earned medals of gold.

Rock climbing wall is now Hamilton’s beat;Carroll likes yoga, and turns up the heat.Heaslip won national powerlift crown;Power as model gained fitness renown.

Newsome when fencing, opponents did foil;Wengel at boot camp for fitness will toil.Palladini with Gilks and Marais are in gym;Pilates for Merrett is way to stay trim.

Stuart and Kirby set cycling pace;Thibault led pack in a cyclocross race;McMillan and Glassen seek mountain bike fame;BMX track now has Davidson’s name.

Stewart and Young both of hiking will sing;Coultish rides horse in equestrian ring.Abbott and Stilwell do sports in wheelchair;For fields at McGirr, Zellman does care.

Running is fun, Gagliano will say;Thibodeau, Ross, would train every day.Pirozzini and Palfrey both set a good pace,As Birrer, Burrell, and Hollingshead race.

As first in triathlon, Epps was all set;Winning at Westwood were Trajan, Burrett.GutBuster action saw Brady and Drope;For Ironman title did Jakobsen hope.

Heisterman, Ramage, DeSchiffart and Clare,Are members of track club who went on a tear.Great distance with discus did Richardson throw;Bassett and Oxland some medals could show.

VIU programs for fitness and fun,Cohen, McComb, and Dunlop help run.A change in athletics will Hunter attest:Mariner teams now compete in PacWest.

Cooper runs regional centre for sport;Athletic commission did Unger support.Fitness in general for health is a key,As doctors like Kurytnik and Cline will agree.

McNabb was selected to Sports Hall of Fame,Though after his death, things won’t be the same.Also elected were Stilwell and Hill,And Edmunds of soccer, with plenty of skill.

Now greetings to people whose business is sport;They cover the games, and scores they report.The Daily has Aldrich, a face that is new;Marshall on radio offers his view.

And here at the Bulletin, covering his beat,Sakaki does sports from his editor’s seat;Gathering stories and facts with great care,He meets every deadline with moments to spare!

And now to conclude this holiday rhyme,Some favourite themes I’ll review at this time:Fitness has value for health and for heart,So keep yourself active and try to take part.

Games that are fun, more kids will enjoy;But ‘win at all costs’ can pleasure destroy.With youngsters involved, learning’s the goal;Improvement and effort should coaches extol.

No matter what sport, one rule is the same:Always play fair, whatever the game!And try to remember that when you compete,Be humble in winning, show grace in defeat.

Give it your best, whatever you do,But always show class – good sportsmanship too.And now I’ll exclaim to all readers in sight:Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.