Eight ladies' volleyball teams gathered at Lewisporte Collegiate Jan. 5 to play in a tournament to honour the memory of an avid volleyball player who had represented her community on the court for many years, Caitlyn Jacobs.
Jacobs, 24, was killed in a highway collision while on her way from St. John’s to her niece’s christening in Lewisporte in November 2017. As the one-year anniversary of her passing drew near, her friend and former teammate, Brooke Kinden wanted to find a way to honour Caitlyn and to celebrate her life.
Kinden and her teammates on the Molson Rebels Ladies Volleyball Team decided that organizing and hosting the first annual Caitlyn Jacobs Memorial Volleyball Tournament was the perfect way to remember their friend.
“Caitlyn was my best friend, and a former teammate that myself and most of the girls on the team had the privilege to play with throughout the years,” Kinden said. “She was an always respectful, kind and extremely talented volleyball player and had made many friends from playing the sport.
“She had an infectious way about her that made people gravitate towards her. I couldn’t think of a better way to honour her than host an annual tournament right here in our hometown to keep her memory alive and celebrate her life and love for volleyball.”
Volleyball really was an important part of Jacobs’ life.
“Caitlyn fell in love with volleyball in Grade 7. She played on various teams throughout junior high and high school and even made Team NL one summer,” Caitlyn’s mother Suzanne Jacobs said. “As parents we loved to watch her play and those road trips are memories that we will always cherish.”
While they were honoured by the idea of the tournament, the Jacobs family was a little apprehensive about how hard it might be to attend.
“We weren’t entirely sure how we would handle it all, but we are so proud of Caitlyn and so honored that Brooke (one of her very best friends) wanted to do this that we agreed,” Suzanne said. “We realize that we aren’t the only ones still grieving, Caitlyn held a very special bond with so many people.“
The tournament turned out to be a heartwarming experience for all involved.
“When Gary (Caitlyn’s father), Chelsea (Caitlyn’s sister) and I first entered the gym that morning to hang the Caitlyn Jacobs Memorial banner we were humbled by all the work and dedication the ladies had put into this tournament,” Suzanne said. “We shared old pics, stories of road trips, and games with some of Caitlyn’s former teammates, parents, and her coach Dean Catling. It did our hearts a world of good.”
The Jacobs family are thankful for the community support, and for the work organizers put into the Caitlyn Jacobs Memorial Tournament.
“We are so grateful to Brooke and everyone that played a role in organizing this tournament and to our family, friends and community that came out to support this event,” Suzanne said. “This tournament also serves as a reminder that life doesn’t always go as planned and that time is precious and shouldn’t be taken for granted.”
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