Santa Claus stops by Nanaimo sports venues to see if people are wearing masks and physically distancing or if he needs to add any names to the ‘naughty’ column on his list. (News Bulletin file/stock photo/photo illustration)

Santa Claus stops by Nanaimo sports venues to see if people are wearing masks and physically distancing or if he needs to add any names to the ‘naughty’ column on his list. (News Bulletin file/stock photo/photo illustration)

’Tis the night before Christmas…

Columnist Ian Thorpe presents his annual sports-themed Christmas poem

BY IAN THORPE

’Tis the night before Christmas, and all through the town,

Games have been cancelled and leagues are shut down.

With COVID the reason most sports had to fold,

And ‘Thorpe Report’ column for now is on hold…

Teams are not stirring, there’s no one in stands;

Everyone’s focused on washing their hands.

Athletes are keeping their distance with care,

While hoping that soon a vaccine will be there!

But tradition demands every year at this time,

My holiday greeting composed as a rhyme.

The aim is to give recognition of sorts

To folks in our city connected with sports.

Last March the pandemic caused sports to abort,

So my listing of highlights this year is quite short.

A poem that is briefer is therefore my task,

And readers can scan it while wearing a mask!

Hockey’s on ice, in more ways than one;

Games can’t be played, which is spoiling the fun.

But Clippers in cohort could not be outdone;

Naylor and Kovich led Island Cup run!

Kids can’t play hockey by going on Zoom,

So Knight is sure hoping for leagues to resume.

For new owner Ollech will Buccaneers skate;

Rookie coach Gaertner can help them relate.

Now out to the pitch, where soccer is king;

Of men’s team United, coach Lindo can sing.

Jackson Cup title made Greenaway proud,

With Hackett, Fitzgerald, but no fans allowed!

Football Nanaimo was ready for fame;

Seahawks was chosen as Redmen’s new name.

Raiders this year had hopes all confounded;

Pandemic arrived, and season was grounded.

Lacrosse had named Bremner to coach senior A;

Junior A T-Men for Ratcliff would play.

But lacrosse at all levels did COVID wipe out;

Bowman and Terris had reason to pout!

When seasons are changing and weather is warm,

Players to ballfields will usually swarm.

With caution did Cornborough softball delay,

Till protocols guided a ‘return to play.’

Baseball with Holyk saw modified season;

Guidelines for safety of course were the reason.

West Coast League baseball gave cause for a cheer;

NightOwls at Serauxmen next year will appear!

On volleyball court before COVID set in,

VIU women great glory did win.

Tormena and Coach Hyde had victory glow,

As national champs for third year in a row!

Mariner basketball also did well;

For Bryce and Kuzminski, players did jell.

Provincials saw medals of silver and gold,

Then onset of COVID caused season to fold.

And now that pandemic is in second wave,

PacWest has decided sports seasons to waive.

In schools, extramurals have come to a stop;

Hopefully fitness in students won’t drop!

For numerous sports, the virus caused trouble;

Brittain had bowlers at Brechin in bubble!

While out on the green, with plenty of space,

Tester and Dawkin made lawn bowling case.

Now can’t forget golf, that many complain,

Can frustrate a player and drive you insane!

Anderson shone as a Canada Life pro,

But local club playoffs weren’t able to go.

Harper, MacDonald, some birdies amassed;

With Samarin’s death, a pioneer passed.

Symbaluk, Morris, and Hill can drive far;

I only wish I could manage a par!

Early this year saw the Winter Games start;

Mutesasira in wheelchair had plenty of heart.

Jankovic, Vieaux, had medals to show,

With Hopewell and Deal, Baerg and Morneau.

Swimmers this season were kept to one lane;

For Trajan and Flood, no use to complain.

But synchronized Diamonds with Woodruff could cheer;

Barberie, Jones, were Athletes of Year!

Clubs for gymnastics right now are shut down;

Fitness and martial arts trainers will frown.

Creswell saw boxing club forced to close door,

While members raise money to buy a new floor!

Curlers this winter had start-up delay,

McRory, Trepanier, and my Ruth will say.

A modified format was carefully planned,

But all sports for adults for now have been banned.

Outside for some fitness saw people start hiking;

For charity Cradduck did plenty of biking.

Wacker on mountain bike set a good pace;

Sulyok won titles in motocross race!

Bastion club runners weren’t able to race;

Heisterman’s track club had safety in place.

No meets this past summer, so lights were kept dark,

But Lundman set national race walking mark!

Now greetings to people who give sporting news;

Marshall and Major still offer their views.

And here at the Bulletin, editing sport,

Sakaki just wishes for more to report!

And now to conclude this holiday rhyme,

A couple of themes will I state at this time:

Fitness has value for health and for heart,

So try to keep active while staying apart.

Enduring this COVID is quite an endeavour,

But to quote Dr. Henry, it won’t be forever.

Remember the words that we’ve all heard her say:

Be kind, be calm, and be safe every day!

In life as in 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’s Thorpe Report column remains on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, but returns today for the columnist’s 39th annual sports-themed Christmas poem. In lieu of payment for the freelance work, the News Bulletin is donating $100 in Ian’s name to the Coins for Kids Christmas charity.

Christmas