Junior football, it seems, is being lost in the Victoria area.
One obvious drawback for the Westshore Rebels is just that – the team name.
Changing their title from the Victoria Rebels to the Westshore Rebels in March of 2011 has proven to be more of a hindrance for the B.C. Football Conference club, which has struggled on and off the field this season.
Falling behind on board of directors’ duties and the inability to secure enough billets for players this off-season. and decreasing sponsorship led to a giant weight anchored around head coach Tim Kearse’s charges.
The 1-6 team, which on the field has lost several heartbreakers during a ridiculously tough 2013 schedule, is back at home on Saturday night to their Vancouver Island rivals, the Raiders.
Kickoff, unfortunately, is set for 7 p.m., directly opposite the Victoria Royals’ WHL home opener at Save On Foods Memorial Centre against the Vancouver Giants.
For some reason, the “Westshore” Rebels lose out on any drawing power of any type of fan base as city dwellers refuse to travel the 20 minutes to Westhills Stadium to witness junior football.
Despite being undermanned, Kearse’s crew continues to put in a gutsy effort.
Unfortunately, few have witnessed or supported the team, which can obviously use a financial boost to offset travel costs and housing out-of-town talent.
Kearse, his staff and the current board continue to fight an uphill battle in drawing sponsorship dollars and the paying public to Langford and maybe it’s time the Rebels return to the use of the “Victoria Rebels” to broaden its marketing powers.
Fortunately the long travel portions of the 2013 schedule are complete and all that remains in the three games is a short jaunt over the Malahat to Nanaimo on the last week of the schedule.
Kamloops, which defeated the Rebels 37-36 last weekend, is here next weekend in a late Saturday afternoon game at 4 p.m. at Westhills.
I recommend you give it a try, if not this weekend against the Raiders - if it clashes with the Royals game - then next weekend for sure.
Your assistance in making them become “Victoria’s” Rebels is once again required.
Kearse’s long-range plan is to make this football community whole again, having minor football players advance to high school and eventually on to junior.
This group of Rebels, now whittled down to just over 30 athletes due to veteran players abandoning the team and injury, promise to give you your money’s worth.
“We have two games against Nanaimo in our last three and whenever we play them it’s a hard-hitting battle,” said fourth-year Rebels' receiver Eric Eggleston. “To play them under the lights at home Saturday night, it’s going to be awesome.”
It would be that much better if the "Victoria" community supported the team, which is an obvious need.