‘Tis the week before Christmas…

Nanaimo News Bulletin columnist Ian Thorpe presents the 31st edition of his annual sports-themed Christmas poem.

Santa Claus peruses the sports section of the Nanaimo News Bulletin to find out the latest on the Nanaimo Clippers and some of his other favourite teams.

Santa Claus peruses the sports section of the Nanaimo News Bulletin to find out the latest on the Nanaimo Clippers and some of his other favourite teams.

’Tis the week before Christmas, that time of the year,When friends are acknowledged with words of good cheer.Athletes, like others, call “time out” and pause,Awaiting the visit of fellow named Claus.

My annual present each year at this time,Is a series of greetings arranged as a rhyme.The aim is to offer a thank you of sorts,To folks who are known for involvement in sports.

I can’t make a claim to have talent in verse;It seems every year that my poetry’s worse,With metre that’s faulty and misses the mark,And rhymes more unstable than Colliery Dam Park!

Some lines that are flawed you’ll have to excuse,But here are some names for all to peruse.Apologies also to people I’ve missed;There are simply too many to fit on my list!

Let’s start on the ice where hockey teams play;Also ringette, as Christie will say.In hockey for youth, Bortolotto stands tall,With Beattie, Borrelli, Hodgson and Paul.

Mitchell with Bajkov and Jones will avow,That coaching award was presented to Pow.Hockey for Vokins means casual league;Referee Robillard shows no fatigue.

Skating with vigour come old-timers bold,Like Brydges and Monk, Dugan and Gold.Rec hockey players want tournaments here,But can’t get a licence for locker room beer!

Brzovic, Campbell, sought ball hockey fame,Making attempt for the world’s longest game.In roller-skate derby, with jamming and blocks,Burgoyne on the Nemesis handles the knocks.

Back on the ice, there’s Silvertips crew;Dubyna’s in charge, as coach that is new.Junior B Bucs once again did take flight;Levesques are the owners, and coaching is Knight.

Clippers this season will play in high gear;Our junior A franchise marks 40th year.Vandekamp’s coaching will strike the right chord;Though Bestwick left ship, now Abassi’s on board!

All players contribute as part of the whole,Like Argue and Schamerhorn tending the goal.McNicholas, Fraser and Grant are all set;With Kramer, Fitzgerald, there’s no need to fret.

Now onto the fields where soccer teams mix;With seven-a-side, Curr gets his kicks.Girls at provincials achieved quite a feat;Shires with Impact did title repeat.

In soccer for kids, there’s Cochrane and Lee,Jackobsen, Dick and Crumpton, I see.Isbister, Cowling, watch youth players run,With Stephens and Neibel, Doumont and Dunn.

Harbour City FC is youth soccer’s new name,With Whitecaps as partners could Roden exclaim.Academy players with Bolton will train;If Sommerfeld’s reffing, let no one complain!

Merriman, Kang, coached in Mariners’ den;National silver was claimed by the men.Baird to provincials took Dover Bay guys;Lang as top scorer won Golden Boot prize!

Lads on United like Adams have fun;Valentim’s coaching the squad in Div. 1.But another men’s team did this season appear;Highlanders start-up made Stefanek cheer.

Community football had Faickney in sight,With Fletcher and Mutch, Craven and Wright.Coach Cooper in Harewood for football was keen;Guiding the Redmen could Roden be seen.

Lindsay and Wall played for Islanders here;Their team made return to the AA tier.Barsby had Taylor and Vollet who vied,But Stevenson’s Bulldogs had title denied.

Blokker and Raiders had quarterback key,As Yantz threw historic 100th TD.Six times had the Raiders been champs of B.C.,But losing to Langley put end to their spree.

Pioneer Park is where rugby is taught;Hornets have Eathorne, Marshall and Scott.Women’s coach Hadikin had the right stuff,With Collicutt, Peterson, Douglas, McGuff.

In minor lacrosse there was Cawthorne and Boas;Referee Krassman kept players on toes.Coaching’s top honour for Bowman was clear;Davie was named as Lacrosse Boy this year!

Hosting provincials saw junior girls shoot,With Angell and Battie, Lundgren and Dhoot.McDougall and Diplock, lacrosse sticks did wield,As Raiders with Terris and Wall hit the field.

Senior A T-men had start that was strong,Then Nicholson’s crew saw the season go wrong.On roster was Ranger, top scorer who shined;Webster was coach, but now he’s resigned!

Swanson and Maughan did Timbermen steer;Senior B entry made playoffs this year.Junior A coaches were in quite a fix;Top players got traded, but no-one told Nicks!

At junior B level, Rinas would agree,With Mickelson’s naming as team MVP.But fans at all levels were made sadder by far,By passing of Wipper, a Hall of Fame star.

When weather is warm, a ball field’s the placeWhere Elmore and Moore get players on base.Larsen and Woods head up slo-pitch with style;For coffee league ladies, Wells has a smile.

Fastball for women had Petersen keen;In rec league for ladies, Smith would be seen.Mainwaring with fastball for men could be found;May Bennett was site where winners were crowned.

Wheatsheaf had talent that carried the day,With Lucas and Hunter, McCormick and Vey.With medal at Westerns the players could strut;Honoured as well were sponsors named Hutt.

Fastball for minors saw Cawthorne at plate,As Nichol, deLaronde and Johnson relate.In softball came Breakers in victory mode;For medal of silver did Nitro explode!

Serauxmen’s the setting where baseball is king;For Pirates, McCarthy and Rogers did swing.Palladian juniors came through in the pinch;Getting to playoffs were Sabo and Inch.

As Ballance and Vickers and Wallace could see,Coal Miner men finished third in B.C.And college-age players on Mariners jell,Say Goodall and Russell, Monk and Blundell.

Kids playing baseball saw Leaf at the park;Holyk, Hnatyshyn, MacNeil left their mark.On Team B.C. roster two bantams stood tall;Off to World Series were Kirby and Krall!

To basketball now, on hardwood we start;Some coaches were Richardson, Fralick and Hart.Games at provincials did local schools play,With Gannon and Rodgers, Fraser, McRae.

Rec league saw Old School as King of the Court,As players like Letham and Bui will report.For Friday Night league, Hiemstra’s the name;Tang gets officials to ref every game.

Mariner teams both won silver this year;McWhinnie for women their efforts did steer.At end of the season, coach Bryce stepped away,So Mariner men for Kuzminski will play.

Rounis for volleyball coaches at camps;His teams of Express have become Island champs!Savrtka and Warren serve over the net,Where Maitland with Nelson and Nichol are set.

Calvin and Richardson volley on beach;For Mariner men’s team does Avender teach.VIU women got coaching from Hyde;Gold medal at nationals filled them with pride!

Walleyball action sees Kossey make plays;Morgan, Savoy, enjoy pickleball craze.Fontaine with his racquet for workout will go;Squash club has Birks, now teaching as pro.

Walker and Allin hit badminton bird;Binns and McGuire as coaches are heard.Juniors like Forster and Wong love to smash;Plensky won gold and so did Ramash!

For tennis there’s Newsome to show what to do;Westwood has Fox and a restaurant too!At Bowen there’s Walmsley and Shahi quite able;Lawrence and Ford enjoy tennis on table!

Eby’s an expert with field hockey stick;Hassell when batting at cricket is slick.Rayner for horseshoes gets passion across;Ultimate Frisbee does Heydemann toss!

Of bowling on alley the praises I sing:Brittain’s at Brechin where five pins are king.Boudot supplied coaching to major extent,As Eby and Burgmann to nationals went!

Ten pins has Gruninger help people bowl;Park at the nationals went on a roll.Ranger at Splitsville throws strikes or a spare;Hagstrom and Johnson show plenty of flair.

Lawn bowling happens outside on the green;Mitchell and Dawkin at Bowen are seen.Sight-impaired bowlers from Sherry get aid;Bhartu from Beban at nationals played.

On sports with a target we now take our aim;Williams and Moores enjoy darts for their game.McFarlane, Baldassi, put arrows to bows;Hawtin the secret to trap shooting knows.

Let’s swing into golf and head for the rough;Baker and Anderson have the right stuff.On Jenson and Evans with titles to show;On Davison too, the Nanaimo club pro.

MacDonald and Symbaluk birdie at will;Like Morris and Hughes, Murray and Hill.Kaese’s at Cottonwood, Thaagaard at Pryde;The Harpers have talent which I am denied!

When winter arrives and snow’s on the ground,Erickson, Hanna, with Blazers are found.For Adams at Washington, skiing is great;Gilchrist in slalom was first to the gate!

LaChance and Lagary of skating are fond,Like Cameron, MacDonald, Hawksworthy, Pond.Hawkes is a coach who helps skaters on ice;Rushton thinks skating at Sandy Shores nice.

Now curlers need ice, which Horton makes true,For Waatainen, Wood, Whittam and crew;Rumo draws in, as head of the board;Team of Van Osch, to nationals soared.

On Gummer and Gallo, those sweepers so strong;On Adams whose takeouts will never go wrong.On Newlands for honour as Coach of the Year;On curler named Ruth, my wife who is dear!

Some athletes need water before they are set;Swimmers and divers enjoy getting wet.Riptides have Irwin and Flood as we know,As coaches for Crane, deLeeuw and Munro.

White Rapids in summer do train in the pool,For Saunders, McGonigle, Johnson, O’Toole.Hosting provincials for Der was just great;Divers like Walker with Jantzen relate.

For polo in water was Todd on a team;Swimming with Ebbtides is Sanderson’s theme.Synchronized Diamonds continued to sparkle,With Greenhill and Smythe, MacKenzie and Bartle.

Rinald enjoys rowing and Rutherford too;Christie and Cameron are part of the crew.Then Minor, Caron and Rowe come in view;Paddling in kayak, or maybe canoe!

Out yachting is Bollinger setting the pace;Buchanan has passion for dragonboat race.And under the water, down taking a dive,Richer and Singer help scuba to thrive!

Now into a setting where gymnasts do reign,As Wagner and Brenner and Baeza explain.Mould was at Western Canadians seen;While Hooyberg teaches a rhythmic routine.

Young boxers in ring, for Creswell do fine;MacKay-Topley’s result was a Silver Gloves shine.Wrestling has Clare, with Tuck on a quest;Top female in province was named as Van Hest.

Arnott has attention on kickboxing fixed;Hinchliffe and Punt prefer martial arts mixed.Kim and his students have taekwondo knack;Biernacki has belt in jiu-jitsu that’s black.

Semple and Nordli, karate skills mould;Cooper, Darmadi and Wolff all won gold.Larsen and Cura in judo make mark,Nationals featured Fiandor and Clark!

Gilks is a trainer, Palladini as well;Wengel and Grant, of boot camps will tell.Fitness at ’Ridge does MacQuarrie explore;Pilates with Merritt will strengthen your core.

McNeil instructs seniors on how to stay fit;Carroll and Butler at yoga will sit.Lifting with power makes Heaslip stand tall;Fitness sees Hamilton climbing the wall!

Stuart and Kirby out biking keep pace;Swanwick at Wastelands does motocross race.Thibault, with Simms, wear cyclocross gear;With championship win did Gillick appear.

At BMX races in Davidson Park,A national title did Greskovits spark.Mountain bike riders like Brady, Perdue,Trail around Westwood are hoping to view!

Stewart and Young for hiking are keen;On fields at McGirr, Zellman is seen.Athletes in wheelchair are Stilwell and Abbott;Pellizzari on horse wears equestrian habit.

Thibodeau’s out running; Burrett as well,As Jakobsen, Ross and Palfery will tell.Triathletes were Struthers and Trajan so fleet;At Ironman, Condon and Boyd did compete.

At Rotary Bowl, the track club did win,With Seaman, DeSchiffart, Ramage and Pynn.Bailey and Higgins were bantams on track,With Doughty and Heisterman leading the pack!

VIU programs do fitness promote;Alden and Hyde with students take note.Hunter and Dunlop, athletics do view,With Cohen and Kellow, Malbon and crew.

Fitness and wellness with good health align,Say doctors like Mark, Kurytnik and Cline.Sport centre’s Cooper helps athletes prepare;Athletic commission has Kipp as its chair.

Harding, Samborski, Ritchie and Tweed;Parks and rec staff deserve credit indeed.To sports hall of fame did honours unfold,For Ashbee and Forsyth, Thomasson, Gold.

Now credit to people who bring us the sports;They see all the games and give their reports.On radio station can Marshall be heard;As voice of the Clippers, he gives us the word.

Aldrich is writer with Daily sports news;Sakaki at Bulletin gives us his views.As editor here, he writes with great flair,Filling up columns with stories to share.

And now that my poem is nearing its end,Some timely reminders I’d like to extend:Keep yourself active, get out and take part;You’ll feel a lot better and strengthen your heart.

Games should be fun for young kids to enjoy,But ‘win at all costs’ can their pleasure destroy.With youngsters involved, enjoyment’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 in the Bulletin.