Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Clubhouse 2014 (The Roof Redux)

Our special project for 2014 has been the clubhouse renovation.

The clubhouse is the former two-room Alway public school which was built in the mid-fifties to replace a smaller wooden school on the same site.  The school was closed in the mid-seventies* (citation needed) and it was used for various things including the home of the Grimsby Optimist Club. Around 2000 the town was planing to tear it down as it needed a lot of work but our president Chris Atkinson, along with the Grimsby Lion's club, offered to save the building for a rugby clubhouse (not exactly sure what the Lion's club wanted to do but probably wanted to make it a project like the Lion's pool in town).  In 2002 a Trillium grant was obtained to put on a new peaked roof, new windows, siding, furnace and upgrade the electrical service.  The town put in a water pressure system with a cistern. The town then put in the washrooms and spent a year working on the field including an irrigation system from the well. Wayne Hodgson of Hodgson metals in Niagara Falls donated the real rugby goal posts. The fields and the clubhouse were opened in a special event in 2006. With the addition of our flag rugby division in 2008, we have become the top athletic facility in Upper Grimsby.

The second renovation started in January 2013 when the town (Bruce Atkinson, Director of Recreation, Facilities and Culture) agreed to bring in an engineer to make drawings of the clubhouse and to make estimates of cost.  This took awhile and we eventually got the results in the summer of 2013.  This is when Nick Lemieux came on board to spearhead the Trillium application process.  We visited the TriIlium office in St. Catharines to get more information and although it was close we made the Feb 1, 2014 date for applying with pictures, drawings and two estimates for each part of the request.  Trillium came up and visited the site and after more support from the town (Bruce again), we were awarded $66,000 from Trillium organization last summer to redo the roof, add flooring to the main room (to be a source of revenue), and build two change rooms with showers.  Hopefully most of this will be done by spring 2015.

By Friday Sept 19th we were ready to do the first item on the agenda which was redoing the roof.  We managed to get the old roof off and a couple of sides done on the weekend but it still took two weeks to get the final tarring done (actually there is still some more work when things get warmer).

This is Brendan removing the first set of shingles early Friday morning. 
Colin, Brendan, Vic and Alex.

Nick, Chris, Kyle, Dirk (hidden), Martin, James and Vic (Day Two)
One side and front almost done.
 In total, members contributed almost 300 hours of volunteer time doing the roof.  Brendan and Vic took days off work and contributed 39 hours each on the roof themselves. Other contributors were Bill, Nick, Dirk, James, Steve, Alex E., Martin V.D.H., Paul, Chris, Kyle, Ross, Alex M., Colin, Jon and Bob. Thanks to all who contributed time and who we can blame if it leaks.
Special thanks to life members Chris Atkinson and Paul Rohner who helped with the roof, second edition, as they worked on the first one (it did leak).  Chris has the distinction of being the only person who has fallen through the original flat school roof.
Because of all the help we managed to put on the roof with a fair amount to spare from the Trillium grant and were able to apply some of that money to repair the water damage inside and paint most of the main rooms before the club dinner.

In case you were not able to help out, this is what the field looks like from on top of the building.

Also an enormous thanks to Jim Barkley who came in and finished off the drywall repair work (Jim also donated his time to do the drywall work originally).

The floors did not get in in time for the dinner on Dec 6th but a lot of work was done by Nick and Vic in cleaning and painting to get the place in order.

The next work is to get the floors in (the ceramic tile is in now except for the kitchen) and start on the change rooms.Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Annual Dinner 2014


On  Dec 6th we held our annual dinner at the Alway clubhouse for the first time ever.  We have used Alway since the spring of 2006 ( in finally cleaning up we found dead flies dated from that time) but never thought it would make a good venue for the dinner as it is a long ways from town, what would we do after the dinner and the place was quite dirty . Vic felt we could put the dinner on (he knows a caterer) and it turned out very well.  First we had to put on a new roof (so things did not leak on us) thanks to Trillium, then we had to fix the water damage (thanks to Jim Barclay).  Then we painted everything that did not move and the paint made the place look good. We were hoping that the new floors would be laid in time, however they were not done and we had to make do with a good sweeping and washing thanks to Vic and Nick.  At least we know that we would have to be really bad to get kicked out of this place (but no need to try).

Thanks to Vic and his caterer (Vic did all the set up) and we had an excellent meal.

Vic and friend
We were ably served by the barkeeps.
Our Servers: Natalie, someone in the middle and Jared. Thanks!
Dapper Master of Ceremonies brought in at great expense.
(Has trouble remembering names)

The picture below shows Derrick Weber contemplating rugby in one of the 3 and 1/8 games he played this year.  He originally injured his ankle playing indoor soccer (co-ed) in the winter then went on light duty at work with a wrist problem.  He played the first two games then stepped on a piece of broken bottle and damaged his heel.  He missed only a couple of games but broke his toe after 10 minutes against Stratford.  He only made it back for the last league game.  Also he turned thirty this year (it does not get any easier Derrick).   For this reason he got the rarely given "thanks for coming out" award.  Surprisingly there was some competition this year with Nick Lemieux who broke his thumb after 5 minutes in the second exhibition game and Kyle Wilson only playing two games (shoulder).
watching last season go by
Dillion Trimble helped coach Beamsville High School last year and played club rugby for the first time. He had never played scrum-half but we had lost our experienced 9s through injury and we persuaded him to try it.  Playing about 7 games at scrum half and two at wing, Dillion scored ten tries in nine games.  He also took over the kicking duties and scored 82 points in total (this was 40% of our total points this year).  It is for this reason, Dillion was named as the team's Rookie of the Year for 2014.

Dillion: Rookie of the Year
Poker.... that's just like playing cards.
We had a trio of senior (experienced) players join the club this year.  On the left is Mark Woodgate who filled the required New Zealander position on the club which was vacated when Dean left last year.  To Marks right ( actually his left) is Adam Meehan who has played for many teams in Ontario.  Adam handles the ball the way he handles glasses of red wine.  The next person to the right is Milli who is photobombing the three amigos.  On the end is Alex Easton who came back to the"game played in Heaven"after 7 years playing soccer  (the game played in the lower town). Alex is a former club president and is our Comeback Player of the Year for 2014.

Alex: on right: Comeback Player of the Year.

Nick and Ross: Clubmen of the Year 2014
The picture of Ross on right is not out of focus - Ross is.
For the first time ever we are giving out two Clubman of the Year awards (we once did give one award to two people: Laura and Martin Van Der Hurk for their work with the flag program).  This year we are giving the award to two people for two very different but significant roles they played with the club this year.  This award could also be called the "unsung hero award". 

Nick was and continues to be the fixture secretary and did a great job in this position but he also spearheaded our application for a Trillium grant.  The whole process is a lot of hard work and we ultimately received $66 000 to renovate the clubhouse.  To this point we have put on a new roof, repaired water damage to walls and re-painted most of the rooms. We will be adding new flooring soon and later this winter change rooms with showers will be built.  He has also spend a great deal of time working to get the clubhouse ready for the dinner.  For these reasons Nick Lemieux deserves the Clubman of the Year for 2014.  

Not to lessen Nick's award but to recognize Ross Matheson's extraordinary work the past year in the area of coaching .  Ross returned to the club after about 15 years elsewhere (the local farm team) and although he wanted to be lower profile for the start he stepped up took over a big leadership role on the team. .  Ross attended most practices, lead fitness and coaching drills and was asked to be captain on the field in the absence of the regular captain due to injury.  Ross has also accepted the job as club manager for 2015.
Congratulations to both Ross and Nick. 

Club Manager and Team Captain presented Vic Blaney with the 2014 Player of the Year award as the main player on our side that other teams look out for in terms of hard running with the ball and devastating tackling. The mere fact that Vic is out there opens up lanes for other players.  
Vic does not normally dress like this - just after practices and formal affairs. 
The last "official" award is the "Deer's Rear" which goes to someone who usually has a "brain fart" on the field and this year it goes to Jame D'Achille who while making a fine break manages to fumble the ball with only the try line ahead. Classic.
It turns out I don't have a lot of pictures of Jake
Other dinner guests enjoying the ambiance:
Chris and  Bill (life members): Scott and Dave (former players)

Jim(an original member of the team 38 years ago this spring), Martin (former player)  and Paul  (life member)

Elizabeth, Chantel and Mary

Kyle and M.P. (Kyle says he is going to get her more letters for Christmas)

A new player to the club this year Chris and Melissa

Brendan (clubhouse manager) and another Melissa. 
Bob and Vanessa (aka Melissa)

Presentation of the special Kylebob awards.  Always anticipated and enjoyed by some.
Introduction of the first Jian Ghomeshi award to Derrick

Jon and Vera
Martin is not sure he heard Milli correctly. 
Martin who has an amazing amount of knowledge about rugby floating around in his head pays careful attention to what others are saying especially when Jon says it.  Jon has a way of coining a phrase that Martin will then record. them and call them Millisims. For example (the suitable ones)

on education:  "You train a bunch of monkeys to do something but as soon as one starts throwing shit".
on his profession:  "I'm all over that like a fat screw salesman on a smartee "
on fashion:  "I always buy motorcycle tee shirts because they are so large you don't have to wear pants."
on something:  "It attracts me like a moth to a fly."

A special thanks to our team photographer, Jennifer Reichow, for her collection of pictures from the year and the comments.

We always wondered what we would do after the awards we given out if we held the dinner at Alway.  What would members do after and how would we get them back to town so they can go to the Legion and cheer up the veterans.  We solved these problems by running out of beer and so every one left.
(Bob is right beside the place where the no smoking sign is going). 
The End
I am not sure exactly where he is going to put  that phone (just don't ask to use it)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

AGM 2014

The Grimsby Gentlemen Rugby Football club had their 2014 annual general meeting on Monday Nov 3rd.    Reports were tabled and a new board for 2015 was elected.  

 Bill Stuart was elected President (again)

What your well-dressed coach wears.
Vic Blaney is again Social Secretary

I really need a beer.
For his third year,  Dirk Reichow was elected Secretary

Do you have any beer in there?

Adam Meehan was elected for the first time as Treasurer. 


  Ross Matheson became Club Manager.

I bet I can get that beer or am I hallucinating. 

 Brendan Vorstenboch is once again Clubhouse Manager

More Beer

 Nick Lemieux is repeating as Fixtures

If you all leave me alone, I will buy you a beer. 

James Vinneau is Junior co-ordinator for the fourth year.

This is how I hold my beer. 

This year we won three games while losing seven but gave some of the winning team some good games.  We added six new players (3 veterans (oldish) and 3 youngsters) but remained with about the same  number of players.  The hoped for women's team failed before the season started (not enough players) and we did not have any junior rugby.  The flag program expanded by ten or so players this year and looks good for the future. 
We are excited for our Trillium grant which gave us $66 000 to repair and add change rooms to the clubhouse. We have put on a new roof (almost) and fixed the water damage inside.  A new paint job is going on and the floors are being put in.   We also look forward to the start-up of a boy's rugby team at Blessed Trinity High School as a way of introducing rugby to young players in Grimsby.