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Corner Brook will always be a special place for coach Holmes


Nick Holmes has hung his hat in a lot of neat places around the world chasing his passion for teaching boys and girls how to play baseball.

The native of Des Moines, Iowa, who has operated baseball academies in various parts of the world, recently wrapped up his role as technical director of the Corner Brook Baseball Association.

He had no idea where the city was located when he entertained the job and had to use a map to get a sense of where he was headed.

He had a hint that the people would be friendly and welcoming because Canadians are known for their hospitality, but the warm embrace he and his family received touched his heart and he will always treasure the time spent helping budding players develop and also miss the many people who supported him when he came here to coach.

“I really didn’t think it would go to the point where I was going to be leaving there sad,” he said. “It was very touching and very moving. It was very unexpected to have that degree of feeling.”

He appreciated coming into a new place and being backed by the executive and parents as he took full reigns in developing a program.

He loved the friendly nature of the people. He loved the breathtaking scenery he witnessed from the coaching box and he had fun getting to know the people on a personal basis as they opened their doors to him and his family.

“It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited,” Holmes said.

No matter what the future holds as Holmes works towards his dream of coaching with a Major League Baseball franchise someday, he plans on coming back.

Corner Brook has taken a piece of his heart. He had no idea this chapter in his life would have such a profound impact.

He may be back to coach. It’s a matter of seeing what transpires in his discussions over the next few months as he tries to figure out what’s next.

If it were up to Darrin O’Quinn, Holmes would become a familiar face at the yard affectionately known as Jubilee Field.

O’Quinn praised Holmes for bringing a great technical background, discipline and enthusiasm to the baseball diamond and also appreciated how he worked with the local coaches to make them more knowledgeable about the game and enhance their ability to pass it on in an effective manner.

O’Quinn knows Holmes had a positive influence on those he interacted with on the diamond from the countless conversations he had, from players to fellow coaches to parents, so he would personally love to see him come back to finish what he started.

Holmes may just be up for it. He’s missing the last place he hung his hat, so anything is possible.

“I feel like I’ve discovered a gem,” he said. “I feel like I’ve discovered a place in the world that nobody knows about, and going back to visit there, with or without baseball, is something I really would like to do.”

Nick’s five keys (in no particular order) to delivering a sound minor baseball program:

—   You have to be organized. There has to be good organization from the ground up.

—   A good volunteer basis. You got to have some leadership under your volunteers.

—   Support from the community. With growth in numbers it requires a lot of work and if you don’t support from the community it’s going to be tough battle to maintain the momentum.

—   Quality coaching. You need to have good mentors and teachers. You need to have people in those positions who are knowledgeable about the game and can pass on their knowledge to the younger players and coaches who are coming up.

—   Patience. When you’re trying to build an organization you have to be patient with yourself and each other, and know the end goal is there and work toward it.

A letter from Nick’s wife, Colette:

Dear City of Corner Brook,

As your Thanksgiving holiday weekend arrives, I have a few things to remind you to be thankful for. You see my family was lucky enough to spend this past summer with you. I know it's your home and it may not seem like much if you have lived there your entire life. I too am from a small town and know the feeling. I am here to tell you that you are all special, every single one of you.

My husband stayed pretty busy out at Jubilee field as the technical director of the baseball program. Our five-year-old daughter Harper and I had the pleasure of exploring your picturesque little town that hugs the bay. We started many of our days off with a perfect cup of coffee at Brewed Awakenings or Harbour Grounds and made our way to the trails. The beauty of each turn and view that surrounded us was astounding. I looked forward to every walk. Every person we came in contact with said hello or smiled. By Month 2 we knew the names of fellow walkers and the local baristas. We were greeted with a hug from Sandy the librarian every time we stepped off of the elevator. I think we must have logged at least 10-12 hours a week there over the summer. Harper loved going to the ball field where she felt like a celebrity. She named all the swans and most of the ducks at Glynmill Inn pond. All of these little moments that were pieced together made us think about staying longer. 

Well, as luck would have it, the baseball program decided on a fall ball league and we got to have a little taste of the climate change. What a sight and feeling. Looking over the bay on a rainy day and seeing the leaves change was such a treat. But the real treat was getting a glimpse of life in Corner Brook and a feel for people we now consider family.

We are back home now in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Some people here like to view this place as “paradise,” but I have a new definition of what that word means. I now get to tell people about the little town on what they call “The Rock,” where people you just met make you feel loved and rainbows grace the sky on a cloudy day. I know you are all about to get a little colder there, so just remember on the cold days that you and your neighbors brought us a lot of warmth for our brief stay. Up until the very last day, in line at Tim Hortons drive-through, the car in front honked and waved as he pulled away, having paid for our coffee. 

This Thanksgiving, give thanks that you can say you live in Corner Brook. Please do not hesitate to look us up if you need to thaw out or take a trip to another paradise!

Sincerely,

Colette, Nick and Harper Holmes

The native of Des Moines, Iowa, who has operated baseball academies in various parts of the world, recently wrapped up his role as technical director of the Corner Brook Baseball Association.

He had no idea where the city was located when he entertained the job and had to use a map to get a sense of where he was headed.

He had a hint that the people would be friendly and welcoming because Canadians are known for their hospitality, but the warm embrace he and his family received touched his heart and he will always treasure the time spent helping budding players develop and also miss the many people who supported him when he came here to coach.

“I really didn’t think it would go to the point where I was going to be leaving there sad,” he said. “It was very touching and very moving. It was very unexpected to have that degree of feeling.”

He appreciated coming into a new place and being backed by the executive and parents as he took full reigns in developing a program.

He loved the friendly nature of the people. He loved the breathtaking scenery he witnessed from the coaching box and he had fun getting to know the people on a personal basis as they opened their doors to him and his family.

“It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited,” Holmes said.

No matter what the future holds as Holmes works towards his dream of coaching with a Major League Baseball franchise someday, he plans on coming back.

Corner Brook has taken a piece of his heart. He had no idea this chapter in his life would have such a profound impact.

He may be back to coach. It’s a matter of seeing what transpires in his discussions over the next few months as he tries to figure out what’s next.

If it were up to Darrin O’Quinn, Holmes would become a familiar face at the yard affectionately known as Jubilee Field.

O’Quinn praised Holmes for bringing a great technical background, discipline and enthusiasm to the baseball diamond and also appreciated how he worked with the local coaches to make them more knowledgeable about the game and enhance their ability to pass it on in an effective manner.

O’Quinn knows Holmes had a positive influence on those he interacted with on the diamond from the countless conversations he had, from players to fellow coaches to parents, so he would personally love to see him come back to finish what he started.

Holmes may just be up for it. He’s missing the last place he hung his hat, so anything is possible.

“I feel like I’ve discovered a gem,” he said. “I feel like I’ve discovered a place in the world that nobody knows about, and going back to visit there, with or without baseball, is something I really would like to do.”

Nick’s five keys (in no particular order) to delivering a sound minor baseball program:

—   You have to be organized. There has to be good organization from the ground up.

—   A good volunteer basis. You got to have some leadership under your volunteers.

—   Support from the community. With growth in numbers it requires a lot of work and if you don’t support from the community it’s going to be tough battle to maintain the momentum.

—   Quality coaching. You need to have good mentors and teachers. You need to have people in those positions who are knowledgeable about the game and can pass on their knowledge to the younger players and coaches who are coming up.

—   Patience. When you’re trying to build an organization you have to be patient with yourself and each other, and know the end goal is there and work toward it.

A letter from Nick’s wife, Colette:

Dear City of Corner Brook,

As your Thanksgiving holiday weekend arrives, I have a few things to remind you to be thankful for. You see my family was lucky enough to spend this past summer with you. I know it's your home and it may not seem like much if you have lived there your entire life. I too am from a small town and know the feeling. I am here to tell you that you are all special, every single one of you.

My husband stayed pretty busy out at Jubilee field as the technical director of the baseball program. Our five-year-old daughter Harper and I had the pleasure of exploring your picturesque little town that hugs the bay. We started many of our days off with a perfect cup of coffee at Brewed Awakenings or Harbour Grounds and made our way to the trails. The beauty of each turn and view that surrounded us was astounding. I looked forward to every walk. Every person we came in contact with said hello or smiled. By Month 2 we knew the names of fellow walkers and the local baristas. We were greeted with a hug from Sandy the librarian every time we stepped off of the elevator. I think we must have logged at least 10-12 hours a week there over the summer. Harper loved going to the ball field where she felt like a celebrity. She named all the swans and most of the ducks at Glynmill Inn pond. All of these little moments that were pieced together made us think about staying longer. 

Well, as luck would have it, the baseball program decided on a fall ball league and we got to have a little taste of the climate change. What a sight and feeling. Looking over the bay on a rainy day and seeing the leaves change was such a treat. But the real treat was getting a glimpse of life in Corner Brook and a feel for people we now consider family.

We are back home now in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Some people here like to view this place as “paradise,” but I have a new definition of what that word means. I now get to tell people about the little town on what they call “The Rock,” where people you just met make you feel loved and rainbows grace the sky on a cloudy day. I know you are all about to get a little colder there, so just remember on the cold days that you and your neighbors brought us a lot of warmth for our brief stay. Up until the very last day, in line at Tim Hortons drive-through, the car in front honked and waved as he pulled away, having paid for our coffee. 

This Thanksgiving, give thanks that you can say you live in Corner Brook. Please do not hesitate to look us up if you need to thaw out or take a trip to another paradise!

Sincerely,

Colette, Nick and Harper Holmes

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