‘Tis the night before Christmas

News Bulletin sports columnist Ian Thorpe rhymes off reasons to love Nanaimo sports.

Santa Claus likes the holiday season

Santa Claus likes the holiday season

‘Tis the night before Christmas, and all through the town,Athletes are resting, as leagues are shut down.Teams are enjoying some holiday fun;Reflecting, perhaps, on the year nearly done.

It’s that time of the year for my annual dittyTo recognize sportsmen who live in our city.My goal is to offer a thank you of sorts,Acknowledging people who take part in sports.

Yes, time once again for a Thorpe Report rhyme,Though poetry lovers may think it’s a crime.For sometimes my verses may strike a wrong chord,With rhymes more outrageous than Mayor Rob Ford!

There are hundreds of players, on teams of all sorts;Officials and coaches devoted to sports.I’ve made up a list, and checked it with care;My apologies, though, for names that aren’t there…

We’ll start in arenas where athletes are found;Ringette, for example, brings Christie around.Roller skate derby did feature some games;Gould and her teammates are Brass Knuckle Dames!

Ball hockey players did Brzovic find;Campbell and Bartlett had Wilson in mind.Youth Sticking Together showed plenty of pride;They set a new record for game played inside!

Ice hockey action sees kids with great pep;Hodgson helps referee house teams and rep.Bortolotto and Paul provide leadership strong,With Creighton, Borelli, Klymchuk, and Long.

With Silvertip Midgets, Dubyna’s in sight;For junior B Bucs, coaching is Knight.Levesques as the owners could give a big smile;New dressing room project was finished in style.

Games played at Beban attract a large crowd;Usually our Clippers will make the fans proud.Vandekamp’s coaching will give players spark,Boosting the team above .500 mark.

On Taylor, Brosseau, who take the team higher,On Argue in net, and captain who’s Prier.On Rempal and Brauer, with talent displayed;On Kovacs as well, acquired by trade.

Brydges and Falk are in old timers’ league;Edwards and Monk never show their fatigue.With Robillard reffing, the players don’t squawk,But Gold’s sudden death was a terrible shock.

To soccer fields now, where many teams swarm;Girls showed their talent on U16 Storm.First on the Island, then second in B.C.,Coach Reid and coach Whiting had reason for glee.

NDSS Islanders went on a roll,With Docherty coaching, and Higgins in goal.The underdog girls created surprise;Provincials resulted in bronze medal prize!

U21 Highlanders captured a cup;To Stefanek players like Roberts look up.Youth teams comprise Harbour City FC;Both Johnson and Saywell will quickly agree.

Zuccaro aids youngsters to lace on a boot,With Kozubal, Taylor, Myhrer and Groot.Boulton and Baird will help players to learn;For Sommerfeld’s guidance do referees turn.

Now Merriman, Kang, and Glennie as well,Are VIU coaches, their players will tell.As host of provincials were Mariners spurred;Kostering, Cato, helped men’s team take third.

For men in Div. 1, the outlook is fresh;Coach Valentim’s hoping his players will mesh.With Newlands, Mehrassa, Escobar, Greig,United should challenge for top of the league!

Football Nanaimo has Faickney in charge;Renton and Strutt are directors at large,Rasmussen and Fletcher keep players in sight,With Largue, Bihari, Taylor and Wright.

As Redmen won title, coach Roden could cheer;Passing for touchdown was Lyle to Severe.Borserio, Vos, Odynsky were key;Linebacker Schulz was the game MVP.

Bulldogs from Barsby are champions too,In double-A playoffs they really came through.Taylor with Rainey and Parker did play;Conversion by Vollet made Stevenson’s day!

Raiders this year seemed to be on a roll,But finished with loss at Canadian Bowl.Abassi as owner has reason to frown,As Blokker from coaching is now stepping down.

At Pioneer Park, there’s rugby for kicks;Youth teams are guided by Ann and by Wicks.Men’s team of Hornets are easy to spot,Featuring Hancock, Marshall, and Scott.

For Boas and Lassam, lacrosse is the goal;Turley and Carter played referee role.Bishop and Young, and Merner could cheer;Angell was honoured as coach of the year!

McDougall and Cashmore saw field lacrosse grow;With championship medals, Raiders did glow.Magnan and Mousseau for Terris hit mark,With Parker, Chicqueen, Diplock and Clark.

Giles was the captain for team junior B;For junior A players, Fleming wore ‘C.’Struggles all year put the team to the test,Though Shires and Mickelson gave it their best.

At senior B level, Swanson was boss;Playoffs were ended by overtime loss.Maughan and his players then quickly perked up,Receiving a berth at the Presidents Cup!

For senior A Timbermen, playoffs were missed,But future is bright, coach Toth will insist.When Nicholson’s trading sent Ranger away,Bremner and Brebber stepped up with their play!

Now back in the summer when weather was hot,Fields were all busy with balls hit and caught.Youth teams in fastball had Cawthorne set tone;Petersen’s women ran leagues of their own.

Softball for women saw Wells at the plate;Johnson and Nichol with fastpitch relate.Coach Delaronde helped Diamonds to shine;Murray and Rickson with Breakers did fine.

On senior men’s fastball, Belton kept eye;Playoffs saw Wheatsheaf, Palladian vie.Palladian won, with Peters on mound;MVP Lucas of Wheatsheaf was crowned.

Of fields at McGirr, Tellman will speak;Larsen and Woods helped slo-pitch to peak.Serauxmen had baseball, and Leaf was in view;Domino headed the umpiring crew.

Premier league Pirates to playoffs did aim,But lost in a heartbreaking championship game.Arabsky and Rogers as hitters were neat;Skingle and Geary threw pitches with heat.

Coaching the juniors, Inch could be proudOf players like Goodall, Page and McLeod.Burgmann as pitcher had cause to rejoice:Though young, he was picked as a Team B.C. choice.

Mariner batters the baseball did poke;Blundell handled coaching for Russell and Polk.Senior men’s team was the Coal Miners crew,With Vickers and Ballance, the manager true.

Now turning to games that are played on a court,Wallyball action does Kossey support.Squash club has Hardie, and Birks as the pro;Talent do Morben and Olsen both show.

A badminton birdie McGuire can smash,With Lewis and Binns, Wong and Ramash.Coach of year honour now Walker can view;National silver was garnered by Liew.

At Westwood the praises of tennis are sung;Coaches are Fox, Newsome and Yung.Shahi and Jenkins at Bowen do serve;Fujiki and Walmsley can rally with verve.

Some prefer ping pong, or tennis on table;Players like Lawrence and Ford are quite able.Pickleball action brings others some joy;At Oliver Woods you can learn from Savoy.

Kazanowski and Epp, and Harder will preach,The pleasures of volleyball played on a beach.Inside on a court, coach Rounis is bold;Chahley as captain helped club team win gold.

Mariner men are coach Avender’s pride,While volleyball women are guided by Hyde.At high school this season, girls’ team from NDWon provincial title with Nieman, Behie!

McWhinnie in gym ensures basketballs bounce,As Mariner women will quickly announce.New coach Kuzminski the men’s team condones,With national title for Olsen and Jones!

Barfoot and Mjaaland will drive to the hoop;Hiemstra gets players for Friday night group.Our NBA league, Barraquais oversees;Teams take the court, then Tang referees!

Gillies and Johnson helped kids on the court;Letham with Nicks and McRae gave support.Lennox and Brown, and Clouthier were names,Competing with others at World Masters Games!

Some sports feature targets, MacLellan does know;Baldassi, McFarlane, put arrows to bow.Trap shooting prowess, Gilmour can claim,With Wheatcroft and Robins at club fish and game.

Bowling has Haggerty, Johnson and Park;Players at Splitsville say 10-pin’s a lark.Anglin and Sorensen went on a spree,Earning the title of best in B.C.!

Bowling at five-pin sees Brittain right here;On alley at Brechin, Boudot is in gear.Eby and Theedom are youth bowlers keen;Burgmann as well, with medal was seen.

Mitchell says lawn is where bowlers should be;Sherry, Haddad, and Hagstrom agree.Life membership honour for Gafka was clear,As Bowen Park club marked its 90th year!

Grass hockey members use fields for their play;Eby will happily show them the way.Ultimate Frisbee is Heydemann’s game;Niamath says absence of cricket’s a shame.

Now golfing’s a sport that is played on the green,Where Anderson, Evans, and Jensen are seen.Nanaimo has Davison, Wilson as pros;Moretti was proud as new clubhouse arose.

Anjarwalla and Hatchwell of birdies can dream;Valliere earned a berth on the Summer Games team.Both Ashbee and Bishop had titles to name;Harper was added to golf hall of fame!

Hill gets some birdies, MacDonald does too;Murray and Hughes enjoy Winchelsea View.Morris and Symbaluk drive the ball far;My score always indicates well over par!

Let’s dive into water where swimming’s a sport;Sanderson, Younk, with Ebbtides cavort.Dougan with Scott and Webb form a link;Scott has the Diamonds all swimming in synch!

McGonigle, Der, White Rapids do rule;Johnson has Saunders to coach in the pool.For Kossey and Goodman the cheering was loud,With Walker and Johnson, Yates and MacLeod.

Riptides have Flood who will tell what to do,For Houghton and Crane, and also de Leeuw.Swimming is Assen, Todd and Munro;Some polo in water Cioban can show;

Rutherford, Forde, are rowers with drive,Hoping that plans for new boathouse will thrive.Minor, Caron, out paddling go,With Antifave too, and coach who is Rowe.

The pleasures of sailing, McCallum will praise;Buchanan is fan of the dragon boat craze.MacLennan and Maudie are seen on a yacht;Divers by White and by Richer are taught.

But Chisholm and Behn wish water to freeze,As Hawkes and her students come skating with ease.And out in the snow, above and beyond,Come freestyling skiiers, Harle and Pond.

Gilchrist and Perras for cold weather brace;Skiers with Trimmer on Washington race.Hanna and Janssen on snowmobiles go;Blazers with Erickson cut through the snow.

Horton for curlers makes ice that is keen,Say Whittam, McRory, Wood and Kaneen.Wheelchair provincials Nanaimo did host,As Jensen and Tull could rightfully boast.

Gallo and Gummer on team do take part;Adams and Carter are skips with great heart.Juniors Van Osch, a silver did win;While Ruth whom I love, can draw to the pin!

Gymnastics this year featured plenty of stars;Alatalo was coaching on mats and on bars.Lindia, Brenner, on Flipside are sold;Provincials saw Wagner bring home triple gold!

Nanaimo Gymnastics has Conway at work,Coaching for Walker, Hunter and Kirk.Teghtmeyer and Richardson both won a gold,Bouncing and tumbling together with Mould.

Boxers for Creswell will answer the bell,As Irvine and Orr, Wisniewski will tell.Wrestling for Tuck at provincials was grand;Winning gold medal despite broken hand!

Skills in karate, coach Nordli invokes;Competing for province were Alvarez, Folkes.Longtime instructors are Sheeley and Semple;Spencer and Punt train at martial arts temple.

Jiu-jitsu sees Wyse and Malone on attack;Biernacki instructs with a belt that is black.Limshue and Lee, and Husband all know,That Kim is a trainer at World Taekwondo.

Larsen for judo will make quite a mark,With Kruger, Fiandor, Davie and Clark.Newsome is handy with fencing epee;Climbing up walls there is Jonas-McRae.

Boot camps with Wengel and Gilks will go far;Zumba’s a trend that involves Hancox-Barr.Classes for women, Butler expounded;Forrester’s aim is for fitness well-rounded.

Pilates has Robertson, Jakobsen, Merrett;Yoga is hot, but Carroll can bear it!Heaslip lifts weights, and raises the bar;With fitness for seniors, McNeil is a star.

Cole coaches athletes whom vision impairs;Abbott and Stilwell compete in wheelchairs.Special O action will Taylor endorse;MacLean and O’Connell like riding a horse.

Godfrey and Wilson set bicycling pace;Davidson, Johnson, at BMX race.Thibault and Simms to cyclocross toast;Kona Kup action Nanaimo did host.

Motocross racing saw nationals here,With Meunzler, Lalonde, Ryan and Cyr.For mountain bike title, Smith did prevail;McGarrigle opened new Fine China trail.

Out pounding the pavement, now what do I see:Bastion Club runners much faster than me!Thibodeau, Trajan, of races are telling,With Palfery, Durkin, Davies and Gelling.

For Westwood Lake run, Oxland was set,Like Burkart, Serban, Drope and Burrett.Pirozzini and Scott saw Challenge run grow;To Athens for running did Monaghan go!

Track club has Heisterman setting the tone;With Doughty, DeSchiffart, deGroot in the zone.For Higgins and Clare did honours unfold;Race-walking Ramage won national gold!

For VIU teams, Dunlop takes aim;Alden and Kellow make fitness their game.Bevis, Cohen, and Malbon are teachers;Hunter in gym oversees from new bleachers

PacificSport centre does Cooper command;Athletic commission with Kipp may disband.For doctors like Kurytnik, fitness rates high,While Cline will advise you to detoxify!

Harding, Samborski, MacDonald come through,Guiding the efforts of parks and rec crew.In sports hall of fame, now Varro can beam,With Reid and with Carr, with Fuller and team.

A word on those people who bring us the sports;They watch all the games, and file their reports.Aldrich and Ingram in Daily have say;Marshall for Clippers gives radio play.

Here at the Bulletin, covering his beat,Sakaki does sports from the editor’s seat.He writes all his stories and features with care,Knowing that deadlines quite soon will be there!

And now that my poem is nearing its end,A message in parting I’d like to extend:Fitness is good, for health and for heart;Whatever your sport, get out and take part.

When you compete, it’s nice to have won,But games for the youngsters should always be fun.So in amateur sport, let everyone play;To win at all costs can ruin the day.

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!