BY IAN THORPE
’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 ditty
To recognize sportsmen who live in our city.
My goal is to offer a thank you of sorts,
Acknowledging people involved with some sports.
From during the year I’ve examined my notes,
Though I’m certain my poem won’t earn many votes!
With rhyming quite shaky, deserving of pity,
And meter more messy than Discontent City!
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…
Ice hockey action sees kids with great pep;
Gessner helps referee house teams and rep.
President Knight provides leadership strong,
Say Davies and Cook, Landa and Long.
Coaches like Walker got youngsters to hustle,
With Rounis and Aarsen, Wilson and Russell.
Competitive players who earned an award
Were Pelletier and Wood, Nordli and Ford.
Those slightly older now play adult league;
As old-timer label was causing fatigue.
Boehm and Davies will take to the ice,
With Wetmore and Wright, Ennis and Tyce!
With Silvertip midgets, Malenica’s in sight;
Dubyna and Ewing have things going right.
VIU Mariners skated this fall;
Coghlan is captain, while coaching is Paul.
Junior B Bucs are competing with style,
As new owner Robinson states with a smile.
With Toneff as coach, the players won’t tarry
Say Walters and Gannon, Dendl and Zary.
Games played at Beban attract a large crowd;
Usually our Clippers will make the fans proud.
Coaching from Naylor will give players spark,
Boosting the team towards .500 mark.
On centre Scardina whose goals fill the net;
On Mussio, Steele, and Bourne who’s a vet.
On Mitchell as captain, Williams and Stein;
With Naylor in goal, the team will be fine!
To soccer we turn, with strikers on field;
For those of all ages, big change was revealed:
Adults and youth a new club can proclaim,
All ages combined and United in name.
Head of the board is the president Coates;
With Dawson and Kirby, much time he devotes.
Robertshaw, Brown, help players to learn;
For Cameron’s guidance do referees turn.
Merle Logan field is where rep teams do swarm;
Fiddick and Tierney coached players of Storm.
Alexander and Brown, with Jensen can rave,
As best in the province were youth teams of Wave.
At high school is Baird helping players to gel;
His Dover Bay boys at the Islands did well.
World Cup sees Wilkinson living her dream;
U17 member of national team!
There’s Stefanek (new) and Lindo as well,
The VIU coaches, as players will tell.
Gummer with Murray and Dunlop could cheer
As Mariner women won title this year!
For teams in Div. 1, the outlook is fresh;
Fitzgerald and Richardson help them to mesh.
With Leggett, McKenzie, and Hackett quite able,
United should challenge for top of the table!
Football Nanaimo has Boese as the boss;
Fraser and Russell, the pigskin will toss.
Leagues are established in fall and in spring;
Cooper says football in South Side is king!
For varsity players a treat was revealed;
Work was completed on all-weather field!
Stevenson brothers at high school did see
Playoffs for Barsby, and also ND.
Two squads of Bulldogs in playoffs advanced;
Juniors and seniors showed talent enhanced.
McCormick and Finstad helped coaching instill,
With Crichton and Jones, Harris and Hill.
With Bradbrooke as linebacker leading the way,
Islanders triumphed in league triple A.
Taylor from Barsby earned all-star renown,
With Chalmers and Wright, Rasmussen and Brown.
For Raiders this season the fates were unkind,
And after the playoffs, coach Hocking resigned.
So Vizza stepped forward to give a new look,
With Atwall and Williams, Roden and Cook.
At Pioneer Park, there’s rugby for kicks,
Say coaches Fitzgerald, Pinda and Wicks.
Scrums of the Hornets are easy to spot,
With Cumpstone and Cleaver, Hancock and Scott.
For Reynolds and Terris, lacrosse is the goal;
Krassman and Turley played referee role.
Sullivan, Bishop, and Coulson all cheered;
New floor that is covered in Harewood appeared!
Of title for midgets could Bowman be proud;
Sutton as coach of the year was endowed.
Wellwood and Boas won trophies with reason;
Dalziel was chosen Lacrosse Boy this season!
At senior A level, Timbermen played:
For first time in decade, playoffs were made!
Toth was top coach, and players knew roles;
Claxton was goalie, and also scored goals!
For senior B team, B.C. title was great,
As Diplock and Shires and Shattler will state.
Then Swanson and Couling saw players step up,
Reaching the final of Presidents Cup!
Field lacrosse action saw Raiders outside,
With Tyre and Tait, and Gizsas as guide.
To best in the province did Islanders roll;
Smith was the coach, Prochnicki in goal!
Now back in the summer when weather was hot,
Fields were all busy with balls hit and caught.
Breakers in softball had leagues of their own;
Robillard, Rodway, and Bassett set tone.
Softball for minors established new name;
No longer fastball, would Cornborough claim.
Huneault coaching Diamonds on bases did talk,
With Smith and Poystila, Kenny and Knoch.
On senior men’s fastball, Belton kept eye;
Wheatsheaf in standings did finish on high.
Leyland, McCormick, and Whiteford agree:
McLachlan was chosen as league MVP.
Of fields at McGirr, will Caljouw speak;
Spencer and Woods helped softball to peak.
For adult rec slo-pitch, the teams did abound,
As Whittaker, Hunt, and Annesley found.
In baseball for minors, Holyk was in view;
Vance was in charge of the umpiring crew.
Serauxmen was setting for Baseball Week game;
Goodall has stadium upgrades as aim.
Premier League Pirates saw Rogers at bat;
Of VIU Mariners can Salahub chat.
Senior men’s team was the Coal Miners crew,
Directed by Ballance, the manager true!
Now turning to games that are played on a court,
Pickleball action does Eaton support.
Newell with Morgan and Yim can relate
That Edgar won medals with Korwin and Pate.
As badminton player Pesado is star,
With Jankovic, Ye, Sumile and Brar.
VIU coaching has Walker on job;
National medal was garnered by Robb.
Students of tennis at Westwood can learn,
With coaching from Yung, Galloway, Kern.
Shahi and Calvin at Bowen do serve;
Murphy and Erickson rally with verve.
Some prefer ping pong, or tennis on table;
Players like Lawrence and Ford are quite able.
Birks teaches skills at the squash club downtown,
For players like Hardie, Morben and Brown.
Courts on the sand is where Epp likes to preach
The pleasures of volleyball played on a beach.
Inside on a court, coach Palfrey is bold;
U16 girls at the Islands won gold.
Mariner men are coach Avender’s pride,
While volleyball women are guided by Hyde.
McDonald and Wickson add talent extreme,
So M’s are now national top-rated team!
At high school this season, girls’ team from ND
Won title at Islands as Orton could see.
LeTourneau and Keeping with Barsby had vim;
Christian school players won bronze in new gym!
Now Bryce in the gym ensures basketballs bounce,
As Mariner women like Mjaaland announce.
Men’s coach Kuzminski the players all heed,
Say Staniforth, Barfoot, Cederberg, Reed.
Williams and Johnson help kids on the court;
Letham with Brown and McRae give support.
Johnson and Kirk, and Thom are at ease,
When Clouthier, James, or Tang referee!
Some sports feature targets, Wheatcroft does know;
Baldassi, McFarlane, put arrows to bow.
Maltby has trap shooting prowess to claim,
With Noble and Clark at the club Fish and Game.
Radelja says bowling at 10-pin’s a lark;
Players at Splitsville can glow in the dark!
Harvey won gold as the best in B.C.
Singer at nationals went on a spree!
Bowling at five-pin sees Brittain right here;
On alley at Brechin, Boudot is in gear.
Keller, McCallum, with medals were keen;
As national champion could Eby be seen!
Dawkin says lawn is where bowlers should be;
Urbaniak, Phillips, and Chapman agree.
Sherry aids sight-impaired players to bowl;
Valchar as junior was on quite a roll!
Now golfing’s a sport that has players on green,
Where Anderson, Edwards, and Jensen are seen.
There’s Harper with Gebert and Wilson as pros;
Hrabowych, Hatchwell, with trophies could pose.
Mariner golfers had talented look,
With Netzer and Ross, Foston and Brook.
Gorman this summer all odds did astound,
Scoring two aces in one single round!
Hill gets some birdies; MacDonald does too;
Prokopenko shows power at Winchelsea View.
Morris and Symbaluk drive the ball far;
My score always ends up a lot over par!
Let’s dive into water where swimming’s a sport;
Ryan and Burvill with Ebbtides cavort.
Provencher with Jepson and Morch form a link;
Scott has the Diamonds all swimming in synch!
Laturnus and Boulding, White Rapids do rule,
With Johnson, Segal, Richards, O’Toole.
Swimming was Bodnar, coach was Munro;
Some polo in water did Schellinck show.
Prlic with Riptides will swimmers assure,
With Orton and Irwin, Hudon and Moore.
For Stannard, De Pol, the cheering was loud;
Irwin and Flood as the coaches were proud!
Rutherford, Isnor, are rowers with drive;
Inglis and Rogers with Gullison thrive.
Nikitovic and Williams help paddlers to train,
With Ali and Nock, Presslauer and Payne.
Morris and Jeffers of sailing will praise;
Behn is a fan of the dragonboat craze.
Ganderton, Bell, to yacht club give thought;
Divers by Richer and Singer are taught.
Ahmadi, MacDonald, wish water to freeze,
As Hawkes and her students come skating with ease.
And out in the snow, but never a Grinch,
Cross country skiing brought honours for Lynch.
Horton for curlers makes ice that is true;
Trepanier at club is the manager new.
Duffell, Whittam, and Larsen have fun;
Palynchuk, Cullen, club championships won.
Adams and Gummer are skips with great heart;
Friesen and Ostaffy both do their part.
Three sisters Van Osch, provincials did win;
While Ruth whom I love, can draw to the pin!
Gymnastics this year featured plenty of stars;
Green won provincials competing on bars.
A bursary prize did Rapanos behold;
Minami was winner of floor routine gold.
Nanaimo gymnastics sees Conway with vim,
With Lainchbury, Crowe, Welbourn and Lim.
Bouncing on trampoline Bodnar did go;
With Mould to the worlds, their talent to show.
Boxers for Creswell will give out a shout;
Plensky won title in national bout.
Wrestlers at Westerns were hard to pin down;
Giesbrecht and Colyn won gold-medal crown.
At Shima Karate, coach Nordli is super;
Championship honour was garnered by Cooper.
Longtime instructors are Marshall and Semple;
Denney leads way at a martial arts temple.
Jiu-jitsu sees Bonczak go on the attack;
Biernacki instructs with a belt that is black.
From grand master Kim you can learn taekwondo;
Kickboxing talent is taught by Arnott.
Fiandor in judo gets students on board;
Nomuras were honoured with major award.
For Crowe it is Zumba that answers the call;
Fitness sees Hamilton climbing the wall!
Pilates for balance has Jakobsen, Merrett;
Yoga is hot, but Carroll can bear it!
Korkowski lifts weights, and raises the bar;
With fitness for seniors, McNeil is a star.
Walking with Wanderers, Anderson likes;
Fraser and Seccombe in nature take hikes.
Adema and Freedman set cycling pace;
Leslie was winner at BMX race.
Thibault and Mogg will cyclocross toast;
Cross on Rock series Nanaimo did host.
For motocross racers, provincials were here;
Sulyok and Parkes had good reason to cheer.
For mountain bike riders, Silver prevails;
Miller and Dutton are seen on the trails.
Equestrian habits will Coultish endorse;
Therriault, Paugh, go riding on horse!
Out pounding the pavement, now what do I see:
Bastion Club runners much faster than me!
Campbell and Bonin of winning have hope,
With Rutherford, Ross, Palfery, Drope.
Trajan was winner of triathlon race;
At Island cross country, Coates set the pace.
Juniors from Barsby a title did fashion;
Hartmann, Burrell, both run with compassion!
Track Club has Heisterman setting the tone;
With Cameron, Katzberg, and Putz in the zone.
For Lundman, Moonsamy, did honours unfold;
Kirk at provincials achieved double gold!
VIU athletes are Worthington’s aim
Alden and Kellow make fitness their game.
For Masse and White, the choices were clear;
Takano and Wagner were Athletes of Year!
PacificSport centre does Cooper command;
For doctors like Kurytnik, fitness is grand.
Activities happen through parks and rec here:
Harding and staff all deserve a big cheer!
A word on those people who bring us the sports:
They watch all the games, and file their reports.
Holmes and Abassi online have some 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,
Know 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!
Ian Thorpe writes about sports on Thursdays in the Nanaimo News Bulletin. His Christmas poem is a long-standing tradition – this year’s version is his 37th annual poem.