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’Tis the week before Christmas

Sports columnist Ian Thorpe presents his annual Thorpe Report Christmas poem.
Santa Claus

’Tis the week before Christmas, and all through our town,Athletes are resting and leagues are shut down.But sports fans are watching their doorstep with care,Knowing the Bulletin soon will be there…

For 35 years, my gift at this timeHas been holiday greetings in form of a rhyme.My goal is to offer a thank you of sorts,Acknowledging people from numerous sports.

I won’t make a claim to have talent at verse;It seems every year that my metre gets worse.My poetry talent is in quite a slump,With rhyming more scary than President Trump!

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;Apologies, though, for names that aren’t there…

Kids of all ages play hockey with glee,As Davis, MacDonald, and Long will agree.There’s Russell and Coulson and also McKay;Kaese’s a coach, and ref is Caillet.

Girls on the ice have a league of their own;As Waugh will confirm, the numbers have grown.Of women on teams, Oncescu saw plenty;Islanders ladies reached year number 20!

Edwards helps skaters with old-timers’ knees;Ethier’s job is to find referees.Davies and Annan get teams on the ice,With Cake and with Monk, Boehm and Tyce.

Tubbers’ Cup action saw local groups shine;For team Dads and Lads, Clark was just fine.Now Brzovic’s focus is hockey with ball;Ringette in arena is Therrien’s call.

Dubyna is coaching as Silvertips play;There’s Norman and Boylan, Zary and Kay.Junior B Bucs include Heathcote and Bell;Lemmon as coach will ensure they do well.

Our Clippers this season have governor new;Leneveu as president made his debut.The team in November fell back in the pack,But Vandekamp’s coaching will get them on track.

As leader on ice, Hewson wears ‘C;’Guison gets points, and anchors the D.There’s Crozier, Finner, and Creamer the vet,DeBrouwer or Roden protecting the net.

Now out on the pitch, where soccer teams stand,Butler and Hackett have things well in hand.Youth teams comprise Harbour City FC;Betker blows whistle as head referee!

Head of the club is now president Coates;Fitness and fun are what Myhrer promotes.Wassermann, Cooper, and Kirby take part;Nickolet, Brown, help matches to start.

U14 team could be happy with reason;Girls on the Storm had a near-perfect season:Coach Taylor and players were hard to bring down,With Island, then Coastal, then provincial crown!

Nanaimo United has been on a streak;Men’s teams and women’s continue to peak.There’s Greenaway, Tuckham, Fitzgerald as well;President Jorgensen helps them to gel.

VIU men’s team of Merriman sang,While Mariner women had coaching from Kang.Rowbotham, Jones, and Dawson showed worth,As champs of B.C. earned a nationals berth.

To football we pass, where Russell is boss;Bryson, Mutch-Faickney hope touchdowns get tossed.Nanaimo’s young players, they show lots of might,A spring camp with Bighill was season highlight.

Raiders this season had quite a new look,Say Erdman, Abassi, Atwall and Cook.Laberge to Rodriguez made winning a trend,But last-minute loss caused the playoffs to end.

Football at high schools this season was great,As Stevenson brothers will quickly relate;Bulldogs and Islanders juniors showed worth:Both local teams earned a Subway Bowl berth!

In provincial final with site B.C. Place,NDSS players dictated the pace.Hennessy, Colbourne, and Comas were key;Quarterback Bradbrooke was game MVP.

At Pioneer Park, where rugby is bold,Stocks and the Hornets, reunion did hold.With Cumpstone and Wicks, skills were well-honed,But championship final by snow was postponed!

Lacrosse this past season saw Timbermen play,For Nicholson, Bowman, in league senior A.Toth with good scorers like Clark and like Lee,Next season is hoping the playoffs to see.

A transition player, the veteran named Roe,Was signed by the Vancouver Stealth to go pro,For junior A team there was little good cheer;Leies was the coach, but was fired mid-year.

Senior B players saw season enhanced;To finals of province the T-Men advanced.Swanson got injured, but Diplock fought on,With Shires and Stocks, Miller and Maughan.

For peewee boys’ team, Island title was sweet,As Fleming with Merner and Schmidt will repeat.Also at Islands, field Raiders showed poise;Champs in the final were U15 boys.

Minor lacrosse had success to propose,With Stannard and Bishop, Terris and Boas.Fleming was honoured as Coach of the Year;Lacrosse Boy announcement saw Watson appear!

Now turning to summer, when weather is nice,Hunt and McKenzie give slo-pitch advice.Softball for kids saw the Breakers at plate;Franklin and Robillard both can relate.

Mixed league for softball got Spencer to run;Senior men’s fastball for Belton was fun.Wheatsheaf won pennant, McCormick will say,With Hamilton, Bishop, McKinlay and Vey.

Fastball for minors saw Nichol make plays;Cornborough’s efforts are worthy of praise.Larsen and Kenney helped Diamonds shine bright,As Knoch and Buchannen can certainly cite.

Baseball for kids featured Holyk and Leaf;When Vance was the umpire, no one could beef.Buckle, MacKinnon, and Clark could all cheer;Nanaimo was named association of year!

Buccaneers won to become Team B.C.;With Laukkanen, Marsh, MacNeil on a spree.At tourney for women a dream did unfold,As Wong of Nanaimo won national gold!

Premier league Pirates had Rogers on field;Bats for Blundell did the Mariners wield.Coal Miners men hosted playoffs this year;For Dumesnil, Ballance, a title was near.

Now turning to games that are played on a court,Squash is an option that Birks will support.Erickson, Shahi, for tennis are keen;Yung and Belloni at Westwood are seen.

Lawrence and Ford will play tennis on table,While pickleball action has Stewart quite able.With membership numbers right up to the hilt,Eaton is pleased that more courts will be built!

Badminton matches saw Binns quite engrossed,As Mariners players did nationals host.Medallists Liew, and Robb never tire,With coaching from Walker and also McGuire.

For Carver and Owen, volleyball’s grand;Harder and Webb enjoy playing on sand.With Avender, Hyde, the Mariners cheer,Hoping at nationals soon to appear.

Basketball prowess on court we can startWith Letham and Thom, Giske and Hart.Williams, McRae, see practices run;Stevens and Hiemstra have Friday night fun.

Davidson, Clothier, Mjaaland and Brown,As Masters won bronze to earn them renown.Kuzminski, Crnkovic, help Mariners train;When Tang referees, let no one complain!

To alleys with pins now quickly we roll;Gruninger, Singer, at Splitsville do bowl.Radelja at 10-pin was right on his game:Gold at provincials was what he could claim.

For five-pin at Brechin, Brittain is king;Eby, Boudot, his praises will sing.Stephens with Plested and Knott were on lane,Earning gold medals with Carlson and Payne.

Out bowling on lawn is Urbaniak seen,With Mitchell and Dawkin and Hagstrom on green.For vision-impaired, gold medal was wornBy coach who was Sherry and bowler named Thorne.

Also outside there’s paintball with Palmer;Ultimate frisbee with Schein might be calmer.Field hockey players with Eby agree;Niamath likes cricket, then maybe some tea!

Rondow is lucky with horseshoes to throw;Baldassi at target shoots arrow from bow.With darts there’s Gourlay with bull’s-eye in view;McFarlane is head of the fish and game crew!

Out golfing goes Harper and Davison too;Roden and Reimer both strike the ball true.Edwards when putting some birdies he gets,Like Jensen and Jones, Anjarwalla and Betz.

MacDonald and Morris are players with skill;Plenty of birdies give Symbaluk thrill.Prokopenko and Murray have talent they use;Together they count all the golf balls I lose!

Now into the pool, where swimmers do well;Riptides with Irwin and Flood can excel.Directors like Irving and Nielsen had smiles;Bourgeois and Crane swam Olympic Trials.

White Rapids in summer created a stir,With Johnson, McGonigle, Richards and Der.Provincials appearance, coach Trajan could cheer,As swim club this season marked 50th year!

Sheppard and Burvill with Ebbtides are wet;Scantland and Ryan some medals did get.Synchronized Diamonds all work as a team;Scott with her coaching will help them to gleam.

Paddling in kayak, or maybe canoe,Nikitovic and Horwood know just what to do.Stenning and Duff, and Ali kept pace;At championship level did Antifave race!

Rowers for Rutherford stroke through the brine;For Knight and Montgomery were nationals fine.Grounds likes to yacht, and Gorrie to sail;At diving with scuba will Singer prevail.

As weather gets colder, and snow does arrive,Hoefer and Pond, as skiers will thrive.Hanna and Erickson blaze through the snow;Riders with Bergvinson snowboarding go.

When water will freeze, there’s skating on ice;Ahmadi and Cox can attest that it’s nice.Skaters cut figures as Hawkes will allow;Bidnyk was coaching for Cameron and Bau.

Now knowing that curlers will soon be all there,Horton makes ice at the rink with great care.On Davies and Brice, Torgerson too;On Whittam and Wood, the manager true.

Now Gummer with Howk, and Gallo may boast,With Adams their team did club championship toast.On Ruth who has talent to skip with great cheer;My partner in curling, and wife who is dear!

Nanaimo gymnastics has Conway at school;Richardson, Mould, will say that it’s cool.Bodnar and Schuler both tumble at will;Brenner won gold for his trampoline skill.

Creswell for boxers will go extra round;Richardson, Seehra, with titles were crowned.Of Baxter and Rae, Arnott will tell story;Walker was winner in his quest for glory.

Wrestling has Tuck, with talent that shows;Steel and Laredo are tag team as pros.Jiu-jitsu action saw Top Team on fire,With Johnston, Malone, Biernacki, Mcguire.

Semple and Nordli, karate both know;Kim for his classes can teach taekwondo.Kruger and Clark will say judo is sweet;Fiandor as champ at Pan-Ams did compete.

Kettlebell club is now Falkenberg’s beat;Butler likes yoga, and turns up the heat.Jager and Payne will lift weights to extreme;Korkowski is head of the Hercules team!

Gunstone with sword, opponents will foil;Wengel at boot camp for fitness does toil.Hancox with Mitchell and Boys are in gym;Pilates for Merrett is way to stay trim.

Stevens on rollers in derby will stroll;Sugiyama does fitness for seniors extol.Special O program for Taylor was cinch;Winter Games winners were Phillips and Lynch.

Freedman and Boon set a cycling pace;Thibault led pack in a cyclocross race.Johnson and Webber brought BMX magic,But death of Steve Smith was just terribly tragic.

Hansen and Young both of hiking will sing;Keith won award in equestrian ring.Stilwell in wheelchair gold medals did claim;Now she is entered in sports hall of fame!

Bastion club members like Palfrey would sayThat running is fun, so train every day.Campbell, Burrett, and Goodman set pace,As Trajan and Drope, and Hollingshead race.

Heisterman, Katzberg, Mousseau and Clare,Saw athletes of track club competing with flair.Little, Rasmussen, and Paris could cheer;Bombata won gold at the jamboree here.

VIU programs for fitness and fun,Alden with Kellow and Dunlop do run.Director position sees White as new boss;Athletes of year were both Turnbull and Ross

Cooper has regional centre for sport;Parks and rec programs have Harding’s support.Fitness in general for health is a key,As doctors like Kurytnik and Cline will agree.

Now greetings to people whose business is sport;They cover the games, and scores they report.Though closure of paper means no Daily News,Marshall on radio offers his views.

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 the pleasure destroy.With youngsters, remember that 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 your 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!

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