These days it’s probably easier to count the sports 13-year-old Sol Jacques isn’t involved in.
The Penticton teen’s diverse athletic interests range from the graceful, rhythmic dynamics of kayaking and nordic skiing to the knock down, drag ‘em out “fun” of rugby.
Starting Thursday in Abbotsford at the BC Summer Games Jacques gets his first real taste of water sports competition in eight separate events.
“I’m a little nervous, this is my first time but I’m really looking forward to it,” Jacques said during a break in training on Skaha Lake this week. “I’ve been paddling for about three years but I was too young to compete (in the BC Games) until this year.”
It was actually a suggestion from his cross country skiing coach which prompted him to try his hand at kayaking.
“He said it would be good training for us and so a bunch of us went out and some of us really enjoyed it and stuck with it,” said Jacques who is going into Grade 8 at KVR Middle School in September.
Jacques and younger brother Ollie, 10, come by their athletic prowess honestly. Mom and dad, Kathryn Golbeck and Francois Jacques, both participate in a wide variety of sports.
“As a family we work hard to support each other. Certainly there are other things that kids can get sidetracked by, so definitely athletics are an opportunity to keep some goals some motivation and some positivity in their lives,” said Golbeck, a top international competitor and Canadian record holder in the weightlifting sport of kettlebell. “Fun in sports for kids is absolutely the most important thing in my mind. I think that’s why we’ve encouraged our kids to try so many and not get tied down to one.
“You see lots of kids get into one sport and become so competitive there’s just too much expectation in that one sport.”
According to his mother, when Sol joined the Penticton Racing Canoe Club he was the youngest to become a member.
An avid reader, having just finished George Orwell’s 1984, Sol is also strong academic student and even spent time with books and video to learn about rugby which he also started playing competitively for the first time this year.
A member of the Thompson Okanagan regional team competing in a spring tournament, he was later selected to take part in a BC U14 rep rugby camp in Burnaby which starts the day after the Summer Games.
When asked what he likes most about rugby, Sol replied: “I like all of it, I like the speed, I like the roughness, I like making plays a lot, pretty much everything.”
His ultimate goal is to one day become a pro rugby player, something his mother hesitantly agreed to support.
However, at least for now, the teen plans to enjoy as many sports as possible, and even hinted he might even add a couple of new ones to the list in the future.