Tag Archives: Soccer

Merry Christmas from Robbin and Co.

The tree is decorated, the cookies are made, the gifts are wrapped; now all that’s left is to wish you a Merry Christmas!

I took this photo above in our front room on one of our rare snowy and chilly nights just days ago.  It looks like Christmas perfection, and luckily my head elf / youngest daughter got us moving towards Christmas this year by picking out the perfect tree, decorating, and even doing a lot of the shopping and wrapping for us!

I’ve been reexamining Christmas and what it means to me, in particular as our world changes so rapidly around us. Although I was raised Catholic, on the surface Christmas appears to be a day we work towards, to come together and share gifts we’ve purchased or made, and eat, drink and be merry. The time together is the real gift however, and it’s should be done more often. I am grateful that Christmas gets us all together, but I am becoming more of the mindset to just leave all the present shopping for birthdays!

Photo: Christmas 2015 at Tohni's house... (Jackie, Tohni, Patrick, Brian, Nathen, Lorraine, Loryn, Mom)
Photo: Christmas 2015 at Tohni’s house… (Jackie, Tohni, Patrick, Brian, Nathen, Lorraine, Loryn, Mom)

My children are all young adults now, and it’s been a long time since I’ve written a Christmas Letter.  This year marks over 5 years that I have been back in Canada after life in The Bahamas, and no regrets. I love being home and I love my country.

My mother Corae has been living with us since September 2015 and all is going well. She turns 83 on December 23rd. For those that do not use Facebook, mom’s become quite the star as I share stories about her under the hashtag #ParentingOurParents.  They are tiny little excerpts of my life as I grapple with trying to be a good daughter, while what seems to be, ‘parenting’ my aging parent.

This year The Bahamas took the brunt of Hurricane Matthew, and I took my ex husband Brian into my home! For those not aware, Brian has Parkinsons, and his health spiraled downhill rather rapidly this summer. He’s been back in Canada since October and although glad to be home, and with family, he has a long road ahead. I’ve been helping him transition back to the real world as he awaits his new healthcare assessments. He’s improved a lot just by being here.

My eldest Loryn (26 years) is now a married working woman, and is speeding through life not only on the snowboarding slopes, but she’s progressing very quickly in her career as a banker. Go see her at HSBC if you are looking to invest.  She and Lorraine (a nurse) have purchased their first home, as well as their first car. The girls live conveniently just down the road from us.

Tohni (now 24 yrs) has been enjoying life in the fast lane and lives in East Vancouver. She’s in a great relationship with Patrick and has been co-managing a fun restaurant called The General Public on Main Street in Vancouver. Do stop in to see her, she’ll give you a super discount. This year Tohni worked her butt off so she could take in as many music festivals as she could over the summer, and traveled a couple times to the USA.

Nathen (22-yrs-old) is studying now at Simon Fraser University and is working at Vision Electronics. Go see him, he’ll also give you a good deal!  While taking on a full course load, he managed to move out last month, so his life is full of responsibility.  He lives just up the hill from us. His present goal is to become a chiropractor like his father, but he said he’ll see how things progress.

Jackie (20-yrs) is the last egg in the nest and has been a huge support around the house with helping take care of her grandmother and father. She’s been working at Dynamite women’s clothing at Coquitlam Centre and is still keeping up as the voice of the ‘community calendar’ on 98.7 FM. She can be heard every hour, on the hour at ckpmfm.com.

As for me, life is full on! I’m still working TheBahamasWeekly.com and this year we celebrated our 10th anniversary. I had hoped to get back for a celebration but the hurricane took care of that.  I’ve taken on several other clients that I do writing or social media work for.

Some 2016 highlights
Some 2016 highlights

This  year I was elected president of the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society which manages a salmon enhancement program in the woods near my house. I love my volunteer work there, and have been furthering the HSWS public relations by building and managing a new website, Youtube and social media accounts. Check us out at hoyscottcreeks.org.

I’ve just completed my first year of dragon boating with the 50+ Nothin’ Dragon Masters, and loved every minute of it.  I raced with the team in 4 or 5 festivals this year, which was very exciting. Our oldest teammate is 80. I’ve also been playing soccer with my daughter Loryn on a Div. 3 team once a week, and it’s special time with her and my favourite game. I took my love for the Coquitlam Crunch, a hiking mountain in our city, to new heights by co-chairing the annual event, the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge, and was featured in the city’s promo video. In fall of this year I joined Ultra Throw, a brand new local club of 20+ athletes training and competing in javelin, shot put, discus, hammer, and weight throwing. In 2017 I will start competing. I am excited (and scared) of this, as competing in sport ‘solo’ is brand new to me.

As for my love life, when a girlfriend from the Bahamas asked if I was dating, I said, “I’m open to it, but any group I join, or people I meet, the guys are either gay, already in relationship or married.” Another girlfriend suggested I join the dating group, “Events and Adventures,” to which I chuckled and replied, “My life is already an event and adventure! I don’t need to pay for it, and I don’t have the time in my schedule.”  Another girlfriend suggested I try online dating. I tried that once – went on one date, and although it was fine (meah), I’ve resolved to waiting to see what life doles out. So yes, I am happy and single.

In 2017 I look forward to keeping my life afloat, and also have some long-range writing goals I hope to get started on if I can find the time!

Below is my interview with Tri-Cities Community TV featured on Shaw TV where I talked about #ParentingOurParents, my salmon work, The Bahamas Weekly, and dragon boating. Click the image to view or HERE.

My interview with Cathy Cena on Tri-Cities Community TV
My interview with Cathy Cena on Tri-Cities Community TV

Whether I’ve seen you this year, or not; whether we only communicate now and again, or via social media; thank you for being in my life.  Have a wonderful holiday season!

My coach, Donnie Knowles’ acknowledged for Sports Contribution in The Bahamas

Knowles-TributeCoach Donnie Knowles, has been honoured for his contribution to sports in The Bahamas by the Kamalamee organization.  Although I could not be at the honouring event at the Regency Theatre on October 27th, I was asked to provide remarks, and a video presentation (see my link at bottom).

I met Donnie and Mary Knowles the first year I moved to Grand Bahama in 1998. I fulfilled a life-long dream of playing soccer when I joined his team The Predators in the Grand Bahama Football League, which sadly, no longer exists. The Predators were undefeated in the GBFL and Knowles took them to 5 national championships.

What was his recipe for success? Well some say it’s because he always had the best players, but in actual fact – it’s because he has always been, the best coach. He is strong in his disciplinary actions, but always wields a loving approach, and his girls feel it and respect him for it.

One night after a soccer meeting, Donnie shared with me his vision of starting a girls’ league. Mary was teaching school by day and studying by night  to further her degree; so I offered to help him get started on that dream.  We formed the Coca-Cola Crushers and for the first time the GBFL had an All-Youth girls’ team. Donnie worked hard coaching 2 teams in tandem.  And if that wasn’t enough, he was also playing in the men’s league, and leading the GBFL.

“Behind every great man, is a great woman.”  As soon as Mary completed her studies, the Grand Bahama Girls’ Soccer Developmental League was born.  The love and skills he had instilled in his players, came back in spades when many of us joined to coach in the new league.  Those were humble beginnings and Donnie still coached at the YMCA programme that first year.  I used to call it ‘Soccer Saturdays’ – Predators were at the field for 7am shooting practice, coached morning at the Y, shoved down lunch, and then rush over to the Girls’ program for the afternoon.

Today his girls program boasts almost 300 players and 5 divisions. After 11 years, if you pass by the Freeport Rugby Football Club on Saturday mornings, you’ll still see Donnie Knowles, busy setting up over 10 fields for his Grand Bahama Girls’ Soccer League

But before he became the Coach Donnie that we know today, in his youth, Donnie was the soccer team captain at Aquinas Boys College; he played in 3 Bahamas Games for Grand Bahama Island; he was a Bahamas National Team player; and he even got a taste of the pro leagues in Scotland and England until he broke his leg before signing the big contract. During his coaching years he was called to both head coach and be an assistant coach to the Bahamas Women’s National Team for both World Cup and Olympic qualifiers. Just look at how far he’s come, and what one man has accomplished, to the benefit of his island and his country!

“Coaching, is teaching, training or developing a process while achieving a specific personal or professional result or goal.” I believe he’s reached his goal! His vision has become a reality.

Coach Donnie and Coach Mary have always instilled ‘life skills’ along with ‘soccer skills’, and after all, isn’t “teamwork” what life is really all about?

Although they have no children of their own, in actual fact they’ve raised hundreds and hundreds of girls through their love, discipline, and soccer success. Today they are invited to weddings and graduations, and are cherished members, of many soccer families.

My friend, and you will always be ‘MY Coach’, you are so very deserving of this Kamalamee Honour for your contribution to Sports in The Bahamas.  You exemplify the best in coaching and mentoring, and remind us, of what community spirit truly is.

Congratulations!

My family sends you Cyber Hugs from Canada!

Coach Robbin

(Children: coach / ref / player, Loryn Blower; coach Nathen Blower; player Tohni Blower; and player Jackie Blower)

Donnie Knowles’ contribution to sports in The Bahamas acknowledged from Robbin Whachell on Vimeo.