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This article was published 14/4/2015 (2193 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The list of Joyce Ormshaw’s achievements is longer than a baton.
And decades after her introduction to the sport at the age of 12, the Southdale resident has announced she will be retiring from coaching baton twirling later this year. Ormshaw is considered a grassroots legend in the sport — whether it be as a coach, official or administrator — and she will leave behind some big shoes to fill. She has coached athletes at all levels, including elite.
Ormshaw’s retirement celebration will be held on Sat., April 18 at 7 p.m. at Silver Heights Restaurant, located at 2169 Portage Ave.
Among her countless honours in the sport are a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Baton Twirling Federation (CBTF) in 1997 (the recipient must have served the CBTF for a minimum of 25 years) and a Volunteer of the Year Award from the CBTF in 2002. Ormshaw has also served on the board of this national organization, as well that of the Manitoba Baton Twirling Sportive Association (MBTSA). She received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
"It was a complete shock when (Riel MLA) Christine Melnick nominated me for the Queen’s medal. It was a real surprise and a real honour," Ormshaw said.
On a local level, Ormshaw has been involved with the Greendell Baton and Dance, which are based out of Greendell Park Community Centre, since 1988. She will continue to work with the group — that generally consists of twirlers from southeast Winnipeg, but does have members from places such as St. James — until the national championships this summer.
Her love affair with the sport blossomed when she attended Tec Voc High School, but her first exposure to it was at the age of 12.
"It started at Tec Voc when I got reintroduced to the sport that I’d first seen on vacation in Toronto. When we got back to Winnipeg, I forgot all about it as I was dancing at the time, so it all began when I went to high school. That’s when the madness began," Ormshaw, who grew up in Winnipeg’s North End, said.
When asked about her most memorable twirling moment, Ormshaw understandably pointed out there been so many over the years that it’s difficult to single one out. She did, however, describe her passion for the sport and why it has remained part of her life for so long.
"If I was to give a message to any would-be twirlers, I’d say that it takes a bit of dedication to succeed, and I do have twirlers that come in for the fun of it, but there are those that succeed and become a star. I’m hoping my students carry on the legacy. We’re all like one big family," she said.
"I’m extremely proud of former students who have continued in the sport to rate among some of Manitoba’s top coaches. I support their enthusiasm and dedication. It takes a special, dedicated person to pass this love of the sport on to future baton twirlers. If you have a passion for what you love, you will succeed in what you love."
The Lance community journalist
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Canstar’s senior reporter, he joined the team in June 2009 to write for The Sou’wester, which was then the new paper in the Canstar family.