With Christmas, New Year’s Eve, vacations, holidays and the end of 2010 just around the corner, there’s no better time to reflect on the good things in life than this time of year. I’ve always believed in appreciating the good around me 365 days a year, but even people with that way of seeing life still tend to feel all the more appreciative near the holidays.

With that in mind, here are a few things I feel the NDG sports community should be thankful for:

Margaret Lambton and Lionel Geller
Lambton (NDG Hockey) and Geller (NDG Baseball) are two of this community’s most outstanding volunteers, having played major roles in establishing those two associations as the cream of the crop in our community. Volunteers are what make the sports world go round, and it’s great to see the next generation of volunteers like Ray Mason (hockey), Ken Quinn (baseball), and Cate Gregory (soccer) build on what Lambton and Geller have established as they lead their associations towards an even brighter future.

NDG Hockey’s turn-no-child-away policy.
It’s no secret that hockey is one of the most expensive sports to play on the planet – a set of player gear can run over a grand, never mind how much it costs to outfit a goalie! Lambton and the NDG Hockey group have made it a point, however, to ensure that money is never the reason why a child can’t play hockey in this community. Through fundraising and the benevolence of both the NDG public and its corporate community, the association is able to take care of anyone who wants to play – no matter their financial situation.

Nice guys don’t always finish last
Sure, NDG is full of great people, but good intentions don’t always translate to success. Not the case around these parts, however, as NDG has fielded and iced more championship teams in every sport in recent years than you can probably wrap your head around.

Amazing facilities
NDG’s arenas and fields could use an upgrade here and there, but overall, we have a spoil of riches in this community. The divots in Loyola’s baseball fields and the sometimes softness of the ice at Doug Harvey is nothing compared to the quality – or lack thereof – that some of our neighbouring communities have to deal with. Even our outdoor hockey rinks are basically among the best. We might pay crazy taxes and not always be ecstatic about our facilities, but overall, it’s important to remember that we’re among the most fortunate communities on the Island of Montreal. A little perspective goes a long way.

There isn’t enough ink in the world to truly thank everyone who makes the NDG sports community so amazing, so I’ll leave you with just those few items to think about heading into the New Year. In the meantime, don’t forget to come out for the 16th Annual NDG Novice, Atom & Junior Tournament starting today at the Doug Harvey & Bill Durnan Arenas. The tourney runs until December 30 – for more information, visit www.ndghockey.com.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year – and don’t forget you can always reach me at noahsidel@gmail.com. See you in 2011!