by EVAN MATTHEWS
A local man with a love for basketball is being recognized publically after over 20 years of volunteer service.
Tim Nusse has been coaching the Valemount Secondary School’s girls basketball program for 23 years.
Riette Kenkel, an assistant coach for the school’s Senior Girls’ Basketball Team, stumbled upon the Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award, which recognizes dedicated individuals who have volunteered for at least 20 years and have inspired other volunteers, led volunteer groups or made other exceptional achievements through volunteering, according to the Canada Volunteer Awards Program website.
“Tim has been a coach, first aid attendant, bus driver, chaperone, joke-teller, friend, confidante and more for 23 years,” says Kenkel.
“He also volunteered on the high school Parent Advisory Council (PAC) where he was instrumental in fundraising efforts for our community theatre and a bigger, better gymnasium,” she says.
Kenkel — whose daughter is also in her fourth year of Nusse’s basketball program — says when she read the award’s description, she immediately thought of Nusse.
However, Nusse is well-known around the community for being a humble man, and Kenkel says in order to be nominated for the award, the nominee must agree to the nomination, making things a little bit more difficult.
“It’s not why I coach,” says Nusse in reference to media attention and awards.
“There are things in life you have to do, you want to do, and you’re born to do. This is one of those things,” he says, though not specifying which one, perhaps even implying coaching is all three.
Due to Nusse’s humility, Kenkel says she didn’t believe he’d agree to the nomination, so she suggested to both the senior and junior girls’ teams, who loved the idea.
“(Tim Nusse) also volunteered on the high school Parent Advisory Council (PAC) where he was instrumental in fundraising efforts for our community theatre and a bigger, better gymnasium,” — Riette Kenkel, assistant coach of Valemount Secondary’s senior girls basketball team
Having received over 20 letters of support for Nusse’s nomination, Kenkel says she and the girls on the respective teams made their choice.
During a team meeting, Kenkel says the girls asked if he would accept the nomination, to which Nusse “was very moved”.
Having raised five children, Nusse says god prepared him to coach girls’ basketball by giving he and his wife four daughters.
“Teenagers have an abundance of energy, and they’re guaranteed to spend that energy,” says Nusse.
“As a community we must present young people with positive opportunities to spend their energy and hope they make the choice to be involved in that opportunity,” he says.
A good example of Nusse going above and beyond the realm of traditional coaching, according to Kenkel, is an exercise Nusse calls “mental power-ups”. A power-up is also a basketball move, she says.
Nusse’s mental power-ups, according to Kenkel, is a moment before each game where a paper bag containing hand-written inspirational quotes is passed around the dressing room from player to player.
“They read the quotes out loud, and take a moment to think about how the quote relates to them for that particular game,” says Kenkel.
“With those positive thoughts in their minds, they then go out and play their game,” she says. Kenkel added how fortunate she felt for her daughter being a part of such a positive environment, and how Kenkel herself feels equally fortunate to participate as an assistant coach.
Nusse is the coach for the senior and junior girls basketball teams, and he has also served as the North Central (single A division) Zone Rep, where he mentored other zone reps and coaches, and brought the profile of the North to a much higher level, Kenkel says.
“His level of time and dedication to this program goes above and beyond just coaching,” says Kenkel. “I really think he’s so deserving of recognition.”
Through his efforts and advocacy for our zone, Kenkel says the region now has more opportunities for tournaments and higher chances of qualifying for and attending the Provincial Championships.
This year, the Valemount Senior Girls’ team cracked the Provincial rankings, currently sitting in the 10 spot, with hopes of qualifying for the Provincial Championships.