The pride was apparent as soon as coach Trevor Bligh walked into the Sooke News Mirror office on June 18.
Bligh had news he could not wait to share, news relating to a young man he has coached and watched develop into a stellar athlete.
To say Quinn Yates comes by his sporting talent honestly is an understatement, so would it be to say the Yates family is successful at athletics.
The children of Campbell and Gloria Yates are all noted multi-sport achievers. In Quinn’s case he has genetics and loving parental guidance on his side, plus the inspiration of a pair of siblings (brother Cody-20 and sister Kali-19) to draw motivation from.
The major news brought in that day by Bligh is the same as what’s got Quinn riddled with excitement of late – in August he’s off to Denmark to spend a year at a highly regarded sports/arts institute, the same one from which touring teams have visited Sooke over the past several years. There was, incidently, a profile on that very basketball academy in the May 25 issue of this paper.
This is not a sideline, basketball is serious buisness at Efferskolen ved Nyborg and only those with serious potential are likely to be enrolled. The process for the powerful and talented young Yates is, in a way, athletic justice.
The family has had close contact with visiting Danish players, having supplied a billet home for as many as five players at a time over the past several yearS when they’ve come to Sooke.
During this year’s late May visit Quinn took every opportunity to connect with the coach, letting there be no doubt about his interest in attending the school. It worked.
He admits it’s fairly short notice for heading off to Northern Europe for a year, but he’s sold on the deal.
“I thought it was a possibility, like, a very slight chance,” said Quinn by phone on June 18.
“It ended up happening and I was pretty ecstatic. It’s a school focussing on sports and theatre.”
Quinn will alternate – basketball at one location, and academics at an international academy where English is the mother tongue.
Once the invitation was offered it was up to Quinn to decide. Because he’s a good boy he first consulted with his parents (Campbell and Gloria), who, without reservation encouraged him to accept.
This is the stuff fantastic future memories are made of, not to mention solid educational preparation for whatever the future holds.
“I’ll go as far as I can in sports,” he said, going on to tout the high value of the academic curriculum he’s headed for as well.
Locally, Quinn has been working with a south Island regional U15 select squad as well as a junior (UVIC) Vikes group. It’s clear that this kid has a work ethic to go along with his talent and physique.
“Quinn’s had a great year,” said Gloria after Quinn had handed over the phone, “lots of exciting things happening for him for sure. We feel totally confident that he’s going to have a great time there.”
Mrs. Yates said all the kids in the family had become involved in sports from about the age of five and it became a big part of each of their lives.
Back to Coach Bligh’s assessment:
“Quinn is the third Yates kid I’ve coached. At first glance you are impressed by the sheer size of Quinn, but more impressive is his hunger to learn basketball. In 16 years of coaching at EMCS I have never had a player develop as quickly as Quinn has. From where he started in September to where he is now is amazing and a credit to his work ethic.
“While Quinn is expanding his all-round game at EVN in Denmark, myself and the rest of the team will be working towards a goal shared by Quinn, his Sooke teammates and myself – a first trip to the provincials in 2012-2013 for EMCS.”
As is so often pointed out, sports can so often have a very positive influence on a young person.
Gloria also made sure to include the details of Quinn’s achievements over the past year, which included Rookie of the Year honours in football, and the junior basketball award, plus the MVP nod from his community soccer team.