EDITORIAL: Rebels turnaround began in earnest this year

Junior football club did well to improve standing in the community, despite losing record

They say it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to ruin it.

While no one incident put a black mark beside the Westshore Rebels’ name, their standing in the community had taken a beating in recent years.

Players exhibiting bad off-field behaviour or a sense of entitlement, combined with an inability by those in charge to rein in such egos and set the tone for the team, left the 2014 Rebels board with a lot of work to do.

This year the organization made it a priority to earn the support of the community.

While a winning record might have made it easier for some fans to support the team, in retrospect it didn’t matter that the Rebels went 2-8 and missed the playoffs for a second straight season. This was a turnaround year in more ways than one.

Having started the team-building process late, the Rebels executive chose to stock the roster mostly with local players, character guys. While that approach gave way to the need to bring in some out-of-towners to keep the team competitive, the idea was to field a team fans could associate with: essentially they’d be watching young men they knew personally.

Club president Elise Pastro helped set the tone for involvement in the community when she and a group of players dressed in Rebels reds attended our Black Press Best of the City honours breakfast. Throughout the season, players connected with younger counterparts on minor football teams and volunteered at various events as a way to give back to the community that has supported the Rebels since they moved to the West Shore in 2009.

A change in attitude was established early on by head coach Andrew Axhorn, who may not have been the team’s first choice for the job – and may not be back next year – but brought enthusiasm, discipline and class to a challenging situation.

It’s common in sports for teams to be judged by their record alone. Building quality individuals, as the Westshore Rebels are helping to do, is a much harder action to measure, but can have a far longer-term result.

Just Posted

Ambitious B.C. Aviation Museum need $10M to get iconic Lancaster back in the air

Volunteers flock to work on bomber, restoration expected to take 10 years

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to fall fake eagle tree at Ogden Point

Last year a fake tree was installed to try to entice eagles to stay in the area, without much success

Saanich to potentially host first hydrogen fuel station on Vancouver Island

Station proposed for corner of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue

Langford man sentenced to 15 months for child pornography collection

Andre Mollon sentenced for posession of more than 1,000 child pornography images and 70 videos

400 drivers stopped, screened on West Shore with zero charges

Friday evening stop led to one vehicle taken off the road for being too dangerous to drive

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read