[The following letter was written on behalf of our Les Timar to Sport BC]
Please accept this letter as a forum to share the contributions that Les Timar from Abbotsford has made in regards to badminton at the community level. I have done a fair bit of research into the ‘badminton life’ and contributions that Les has made. Many of us who have played along- side Les over the years, including myself, are very proud to nominate him for this Community Hero Sport Award. I am hopeful that I am able to build a story that shows Les’s consistent effort as a volunteer, and his dedication to keeping badminton active within the city of Abbotsford, B.C.
Les started his badminton play at the age of 7. He and his brother Lee, and Kathy Kish were part of a group of families that were truly badminton lovers. They had keen parents that seemed to instill a passion for badminton at an early age. These kids were loaded up happily every Friday night to take a drive to the Phillip Sheffield Hall in Abbotsford., looking forward to badminton and friends. Of course this was the mid 60’s and kids were taught to participate with all aspects of badminton. That meant Les could take down and put up nets, sweep and mop gym floors…and then play badmintonJ
Truly, in the spirit of ‘community’ , these families and their children welcomed any newcomers to join in. I discovered there were about 3 key families: Timar, Kish, Tretheway. Later on this led to other interesting names : Milt & Vic Connelly ( past player coach and Hall of Fame at VRC ), Rick Hanson ( ‘THE” Man in Motion before the accident), Charlie Schupe, Eric Sandstrom, Lloyed Wilson, Darryl Paquette, Stu Kemel, Kathy Kish…among a few more. While this family event was happening, the Senior Badminton club also existed out of Mowat Secondary or Abbotsford Junior High School. Les was very talented as his brother would say, and so by the age of 14, he was playing with the Seniors and competing at the Provincial and Canadian Levels. ( SILVER medal in the Canadians Junior Mixed, Provincial GOLD Singles U19) He was considered to be within the top 10 in Canada for Junior talent at that time. Les was very successful and always a hard worker, whether it be training for his own competitions ( trained out of VRC) or assisting with other juniors in programs and tournaments.
Although Les has been known for his no-nonsense focus on the court, he has always taken the time to show the ‘other’ side by welcoming new people into the club. As time has proven, Les has shown over the years, that keeping badminton alive was important. After he married and started his family, Les continued to be committed to the sport . Whether it be playing, organizing tournaments, or trying to co-ordinate new terms with the Abbotsford School District for continued badminton space, he was there. Les assisted with club politics and details with Don Paquette for many years until Don stepped down as President leaving Les to carry forth the “badminton torch”. Over the years, Les has played with young and old, beginner and experienced players. I specifically recall him taking the time to play that doubles game with Senior Milt Connelly who was heading into his 80’s. Milt was responsible for serving and covering the net. Les pretty much did everything else necessary. It was really heart- warming to watch because the game was more than about the win, although as a combined -age team, they were still competitive.
The Abbotsford Badminton Club was a supporter of Badminton B.C. and was a part of the tournament schedule in the 80’s and 90’s. Les co-ordinated and did all the draws in those days; we figured he may have about 20 tournaments ‘under his belt’. This was before computer programs so pen and paper methods was where it was at. Can you imagine the time it took!!!??? All in all, it got done and we all knew that without Les heading up the tournament it would’ve been out of our skill set. Its’ great to have helpers but you need a leader to make the task complete. Unfortunately, tournaments took a back seat into the 21st century as lack of attendance discouraged the club from continuing. However, to this day, there are still members of the club who participate in the Badminton B.C. tournaments on a regular or non-regular basis: Reesa Valenta, Dan Lee, Kathy Kish, Les Timar, Gord Mcdonnell, Bouncie Louandkay, Jean Gilbert, to name a few. Currently, Abbotsford operates 2x a week as a recreational club. That being said, it is important to note that support and encouragement to those interested in participating at the competitive level is available from current club members who are always willing to connect those to the proper resources. As well, in order to keep people informed, Abbotsford has recently developed their own webpage. (Abbotsfordbadmintonclub.com)
Many of us who have contributed to this information, believe that without Les Timar, there would be no Abbotsford Badminton Club. Les has been involved for over 50 years and never missed a year since he was a child. His service has proven that he is the backbone to the club. Over the years, Les went further beyond his volunteer role and tried to develop a badminton facility for the community . Unfortunately, his dream to build an exclusive hall ended when after working for a full year in meetings with a developer Ryan Huston and the city of Abbotsford, funding couldn’t come together quickly enough.
Nevertheless, the dedication to badminton as a sport has continued despite the ups & downs that volunteering brings. In the end, Abbotsford still has found a way for badminton enthusiasts to play and friends to meet. And so, this award would be a huge ‘thank you’ and well-deserved recognition to Les Timar for carrying on a legacy started by his family and others so many years ago. Let’s PLAY BADMINTON.
Sincerely, Reesa Valenta and other supporters: Dan Lee, Kathy Kish, Lee Timar
[The following was the response from Sport BC]
SportBC and KidSport would like to thank you for taking the time to submit nominations for the Abbotsford Sport Hero Award Ceremony.
Les Timar has been selected as a recipient and as their nominator, we would like to invite you to celebrate with them. The awards ceremony will be held on March 9, 2017 at Best Western Regency Inn & Conference Center at 6:30 pm.
Please confirm your attendance as soon as possible.
Events Manager, Sport BC