“Unofficial” 2001 awards extravaganza

These may be the first-ever “unofficial” Fort Frances Times’ sports awards. History in the making? Dare I say the start of a lengthy, fruitful tradition?
Maybe we shouldn’t overshoot.
Nonetheless, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my take on the two-thirds of 2001 that I’ve covered this district’s sports scene. From what I’ve heard and read, the first third was just as excellent.
I’m sure this time of year has pelted you with plenty of “best of” and “the year that was” spreads, so we at the Times sports department (me and my Mac) thought we’d continue to pile it on (just check out page B1).
So without further a due, I present the “maybe, just maybe, but I’m not sure because I was too lazy to check” first-ever Rainy River District “unofficial” sports awards:
•Sportsman whose business card is most worthy of a marquee on a movie theatre—Rick Socholotuk (“The Outdoor Educator”);
•Award to the coach for using the words, “the boys,” most often in describing their team—Borderland Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan;
• The“How many Fair queens do you know can knock three rocks out of the four-foot in the eighth end?” award—Kelly Nielson, Stratton curling club junior ladies’ skip who also was named Emo Fall Fair Queen this past August
•“Oh so quotable” plaque—local golfer Freddie Beck on the up-and-down nature of tournaments (“Obviously I wouldn’t mind winning. But you never know. One day you go out and think you’re Tiger Woods and the next day you’re Charlie the Hacker.”);
•“Double jersey” medal—Adam McTavish (who went from playing in a Winnipeg High School Football League playoff game to a junior hockey contest in four days);
•Most dedicated (a.k.a. “I would walk 500 miles”)—participants and parents from local gymnastic, minor hockey, figure skating, and squash clubs who took loggers’ routes to attend events in Thunder Bay after a three-vehicle accident closed the Trans-Canada Highway on Dec. 1;
•The Babe Ruth Memorial “call my shot” award—local golfer John Hazel Jr., for announcing on the tee of the par-four fourth hole at Kitchen Creek that those watching were about to witness the longest drive in the history of this club during the 75th-anniversary tournament (it wasn’t, he shanked it);
•Like father, like son award—Kenny Perry Jr. (Ken) and Steve Arpin (Chuck) who each captured this past season’s points title in their respective classes (Perry was in his first year of racing while Arpin was in his third);
•Calling it a slightly above average day for Muskie sports may be an understatement award—Feb. 23 as the senior and junior boys’ basketball and senior and junior girls’ volleyball teams all won NorWOSSA gold (the first time that has ever happened);
•May have suffered from the dreaded “B.E. (bass edition) cover” jinx—2000 Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship winners Denis Barnard and Clint Barton, who finished in 88th place this past July (the week before the derby, the duo was on the cover of the Times’ supplement and the subject of a full-page feature);
•Best celebratory speech—Judy Ballan after sons, Steve and Kent, won the 2001 FFCBC (“This is my proudest moment—next to them being born. But right now, this takes the cake.”);
•“No-brainer on which media outlet will get that exclusive” award—CFOB radio personality Doug McBride, who with son Zack, held the lead after the first day of the FFCBC (after weighing in, he headed straight for the CFOB broadcast booth for an interview); and
•Ask a bad question, get an answer that exposes it award—Me, for this actual exchange with Borderland Thunder goalie Rob Hrabec:
Reuben: “So, Rob, you’ll be debuting at home this weekend. What are you hoping to do?”
Rob: “Stop a lot of pucks.”

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