Jim Cameron has been the Shady Rest Eagles Football Club’s most devoted member for three decades.
The 74-year-old Parksville soccer enthusiast started playing for the Eagles in 1988 and went on to become coach, manager, league organizer, mentor and ball carrier.
But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and Cameron has decided to hang up his cleats after 32 years of serving the club and pass the torch on.
On Thursday night at Springwood Park, players and friends honoured Cameron with a plaque for the selfless contribution he has made to the Eagles club for so long. They expressed sincere gratitude to Cameron for all the work he has done that made playing the sport that they love more enjoyable and fun.
Rod Morrison, a staunch supporter of the Eagles club and longtime organizer of the six-a-side soccer tournament in Parksville Qualicum Beach, praised Cameron’s commitment to the club.
“He’s done it all and enjoyed every minute of it,” said Morrison.
“He does it, not only for the love of the game but also for the love for the community. His goal has always been to keep this going not just for you guys but also for your kids coming up. That’s how he thinks and that’s how he feels. It’s community, community. That’s what it is all about.”
Morrison said Cameron over the years faced some tough periods when he has to confirm playing venues, timing and other logistics. His position demands patience and tolerance.
“He said it’s like taking a rock and continually pushing it up a hill, that’s how much effort he needs to keep it all together,” said Morrison.
Cameron joined the Shady Rest Eagles team in 1988. They just moved back to Parksville after leaving the area in 1982 and he said the best way to meet people in the community is to get into sports or activities.
“I knew there was a soccer club so I joined Shady Rest Eagles Football Club and made some wonderful friends over the years,” said Cameron. “After a while I started to help organizing and that led to helping organizing the league for the men on the North Island. Over time it’s just been a wonderful experience for me.”
Cameron was forced to stop playing five years ago due to a knee injury. He could have left the club then but he still wanted to be involved in some ways.
“I didn’t want to leave the game and I didn’t want to leave the friendship so I stayed on basically on the organizing side and helping coach the older guys. I am not coach anymore but more on organizing making sure that the schedules are working and the fields are booked, that kind of thing. It’s a lot of organizing work but it’s fund and I liked it. It keeps me with the club.”
Over the years, Cameron has seen the club grow with new players coming out to join and play.
“It’s growing from the ground up and there’s place for kids to play until they’re 65 which gives me great pleasure,” said Cameron. “During the COVID period that’s on right now, it seems like a logical time to step away from it and let some of the younger guys… not younger but some of the guys that have been with the club that want to help carry it on.”
The position left vacant by Cameron will be difficult to fill but the Eagles have three members who will help manage the club. They are Mark Lane, Ian Miller and Keith Watson.
Although he will no longer be managing the club, Cameron said he will continue to support the Eagles and come out to watch the games.