The Week — July 12: A cup of homeless dreams

Victoria Street Soccer aims for Homeless World Cup, Q Awards finalists and the barrier to safety

Last year’s “Victoria Dreams” street soccer goalie Mikko (left) and firefighter Colin Ward (right) keep an eye on the ball during a game at Victoria High.

A cup of homeless dreams

How many kids dream of playing in a World Cup when they grow up, and how many of us arrive at goals much different than we expected?

For one very lucky person selected to play in the Homeless World Cup in Mexico this October, that original dream is still a possibility, no matter how far off-track he or she kicked the ball, thanks to the efforts of the Victoria Street Soccer league. On Sunday, July 15, the league is hosting the second-annual “Dreams in Mexico” community four-on-four tournament at Finlayson Field in Topaz Park, to raise  money to send one of its players to the Homeless World Cup — and the group is asking for the community to play along.

Anyone interested can register a team of six to eight players (co-ed, with a suggested age of 12 and up) for a minimum $100 donation per team. But don’t think you have to be a soccer all-star to join in: all teams will get a tutorial on the unique, fast-paced street-soccer style of game, with small fields, hockey-sized nets and three players plus a goalie. Contestants can try to unseat last year’s champs, the “Fernwood Dragons,” who are rumoured to be back for more this year.

“This really gives people on the streets something to be proud of, and it empowers them to get healthy enough to be able to play,” says Katie DeRosa, founder of the league. “A lot of these players spend most of their time in the downtown core, and it’s not always fun. I’ve had players tell me that they don’t always know who their friends are and have to second-guess a lot of motives, but when they are on the field, there’s this sense of camaraderie with everyone. And they have fun.”

Players and those who just want to cheer on the effort can also purchase a BBQ lunch, provided by Fat Daddy’s BBQ catering. There will be a bake table, music, raffle prizes and a massage tent by Absolute Therapy. The Victoria Street Soccer league hopes that one of the team’s players will be selected to play with Homeless Team Canada in October.

Registration is at 9 a.m., with kickoff at 9:30 a.m. For more information, or to register, contact victoriastreetsoccer@gmail.com.

A queer way to celebrate

Exciting news for all the rainbow community this past Pride Week, as Victoria’s first-ever Q Awards gave the nod to the finest and fiercest in the city’s LGBTQ industry.

The event, started by queer-thanking activist Niko Bee, launched at the Ledge Lounge on July 5. A packed house filled the 100 seats as members of the community and guests collected hand-made gold record awards, donated gift certificates and Pride T-shirts.

While dozens were nominated in each of the 10 categories, David Tilson, Pride organizer, walked away with the Q Award in the volunteer category, while adjunct UVic prof Robert Birch cinched the educator award. Queer musician Kara Taylor got the nod for entertainment (non-drag), while prideful queen Donna Mae Trixx won for royalty entertainment. Edward Lai, who created this year’s Pride graphics, received the artist award, international writer Patti Dawn Swanson won the words Q and Monday was honoured to walk away with the media award. Meanwhile, the Victoria Pride Society picked up the organization award, Out of the Closet was handed the business (non-industry) Q and the Ledge Lounge scored the business (industry) award. A bonus lifetime achievement award went to a speechless Terry Froud, for all his work in the Pride community.

“The whole event went off without a hitch, but we’ll definitely need a bigger venue next year,” says Bee, who is already planning for the 2013 Q Awards. “It’s so nice to be able to give people the thank yous they deserve, and the more we do that, the more that comes back to us in the long run.”

The barrier to safety

Malahat road warriors be aware, this week marks the start of installation for our new concrete median barrier, aimed at covering 40 per cent of the corridor by spring of 2013 to improve motorist safety.

Approximately 1.4 kilometres of concrete median barrier will be installed north of Finlayson Arm Road by Friday, July 13, clanking in $250,000 of the anticipated $8 million total for the 5.4-kilometre stretch. The majority of construction is scheduled to happen overnight between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., but to make room for the new barrier, the northbound passing lane will be removed.

Eyes on the road, motorists. M

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