No reason why basketball teams can’t become prominent again at Chemainus Secondary

No reason why basketball teams can’t become prominent again at Chemainus Secondary

Boys back on the court, but it’s going to take time to rebound

It’s tremendous to see the boys basketball program at Chemainus Secondary School making a comeback and hopefully it continues to gain momentum.

As an alumni player from one of the school’s heyday eras during the mid-to-late 1970s when Chemainus teams were known as the Timbermen, I’m amazed at how attached I’ve remained to my roots.

It may have been 41 years already since I last patrolled the floor at Chemainus Secondary as a player, but I still recall those days with a great fondness. There was nothing quite like a packed gym, where the multi purpose room is now located, for Friday night games.

Myself and other members of the team really thought we were bigshots. And, in a sense, we were from making all those big shots in clutch situations to bring prestige and attention to the school.

When your high school years revolve around that environment, it’s only natural to get caught up in it because, well, we were teenagers. It’s still something we talk about all the time and that’s exactly what happened when I ran into former teammate and classmate Lance Syme on Christmas Day when we both happened to pop in to Riot Brewing at the same time with our spouses.

There’s nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment that derives itself from high school sports. Lance, myself and the others are still feeling it four decades later.

Our predecessors were partly responsible for that atmosphere. In talking to Ron Waller, who was in the program 10 years ahead of me, he feels very much the same about what basketball did for himself and the school.

My group had huge shoes to fill from the Bill Robinson glory days, but there were many strong teams just before him and after him as well to maintain the high standard.

Times obviously change and Chemainus boys’ basketball just hasn’t been the same since around the mid-to-late 1990s.

Kyle Peruniak’s arrival as athletic director will hopefully usher in a new era when it’s no longer good enough just to show up and play (although there were long gaps when that didn’t even happen at Chemainus), but a pride will develop around the Cougars, as they’re now known, to do their very best.

The school may be small in population, but that’s no reason why a decent team of 10 or 12 guys and another 10 or 12 coming up in the system as juniors can’t begin to cultivate another basketball culture.

It does take some commitment and that’s going to be the challenge, to find enough individuals willing to do that. But if the few guys around now in Grades 11 and lower make the effort, the rewards can be high.

Nearby Duncan Christian School provides the perfect example of what can be accomplished at this level. It’s a small school as well, but there’s enough boys and girls willing to buy into making the program successful and newcomers immediately want to be part of it.

The girls basketball teams at Chemainus held the fort for many years under the direction of Jennie Hittinger, with little or no boys’ representation. Now, it’s the opposite with no girls and two boys teams at least willing to give it a shot.

I’ve written about tradition before, but so many years have passed it’s hardly a factor at Chemainus anymore. But new chapters can always be written and it generates so many unforgettable experiences during the duration of the basketball season in a very short few months.

I can certainly vouch for that.

Don Bodger is the editor of the Chemainus Valley Courier.