Sports future depends on shared passion, cohesion and fly fishing

For the past 21 years, Guy Bertrand wrote the words and captured the moments – the amazing performances, victories and events that defined Trail, its athletes, coaches and organizers.

He chronicled the memories that made the Silver City synonymous with excellence, and earned it the well deserved title – the Home of Champions.

But as the winds of change blow through the Trail Times, our once eminent sports editor has moved up the ranks, from coach to manager, and rather than continue to excel in a comfortable well-worn chair, he rose to the challenge and left the cheap seats for the big chair in the front office.

A move that benefited me probably more than anyone, but that’s just the kind of Guy he is, classy to a fault, making it an easier transition for the whole Times contingent.

For the past year, I’ve had the privilege of writing news for the Times, meeting the many residents, councilors, mayors, organizers, and volunteers that the community could not do without and who for the most part, go unrecognized.

The move to sports editor happened quickly.  I came off the news bench rather cold and at the busiest time of year in a sports mad community – much like a modern-day Bunny Larocque filling the vacated crease of Habs legend Ken Dryden – a daunting task indeed.

To replace Bertrand is impossible. Rather, I have the good fortune of his guidance and expertise, and in my few brief weeks as sports editor, I’ve met many committed people who  take the time and effort to send in stats, photos or updates making the work that much easier.

But in any sports community, competition is fierce but even moreso in Greater Trail. While we benefit from each other’s organizations and facilities, we continue to retain petty policies like how much to charge a Rossland family to go for a swim in Trail.  And as last week’s amalgamation vote suggests, there are enough people who still balk at the idea of aligning themselves with an historic rival.

Politics has a lot to do with it but as much as each community tries to distinguish itself by their differences, it is the common passion for sport that continues to bring us together and invariably makes us better – not just as athletes but as human beings.

Like sibling rivalries, there may always be discord and disagreements but healthy competition over the last century has produced some of the best athletes and teams in the world.

It would be a shame if politics and regrettable comments by a colleague in a recent “sports” column should somehow diminish past accomplishments and threaten future cooperation.

As for me, I have always been active in sports. I even played goal for the Nitehawks back in the prehistoric days when most of the players were local and the Jr. Smokies and Rossland Warriors skated in the KIJHL.

That was over 20 years ago, but even today I see the same names actively involved in minor hockey and participating or organizing sporting activities for the next generation of athletes.

I still lace up the skates for a local Rec-league team and nurture a golf game bereft of skill but always hopeful.

I am an avid outdoorsman, spending much of my off-time hiking and fly fishing and in the future, I’d like to bring a little of that wilderness flavour to the Times.

We live in arguably the most scenic area in British Columbia, if not the world, enjoying an embarrassment of riches in outdoor pursuits.

So if you are a kayaker, hiker, archer, horseback rider, rock or ice-climber, mountain biker, fisherman, hunter, spelunker, sky diver, skier, scuba diver, race car driver or other and have a great photo to share, an event to report, a place to recreate, or tips on a particular technique or skill – stop in, give me a call or send me an email. I’ll be happy to promote it and even try it out if possible.

I look forward to seeing you out there.