‘Once a Meraloma, always a Meraloma’: Amateur Vancouver sports club marks 100 years

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This is BC: Vancouver amateur sports club turns 100
Vancouver's premier amateur sports club is hitting a milestone this year. 100 years and counting --celebrating a century of encouraging budding athletes in a variety of sports. On This is BC, Jay Durant deciphers the name and its evolution – Sep 26, 2023

“Once a Meraloma, always a Meraloma.”

It’s an easy mantra to remember, but a name that needs a little explanation for those outside of the club.

“The number one question is, what is a Meraloma,” said club president Matt Plester. “The first part comes from Mermaid and Loma comes from the Greek alphabet.”

The Meraloma Club, Vancouver’s premier amateur sports club, is marking its 100th anniversary this year.

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Mermaids was the name of the original swim club founded in 1923, but expansion came quick, and a year later the number of sports the club was fielding teams in started to grow.

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These days, Meraloma supports athletes in seven sports: cyling, cricket, fastpitch, field hockey, rugby, touch rugby and soccer.

Club directors who helped build Meraloma football were instrumental in bringing a professional team to Vancouver.

“The BC Lions adopted the colours of this club, black and orange,” past president Gary Cohen explained.

For decades the clubhouse at Connaught Park has been home to members who’ve become entrenched in the community.

“Every year we raise money for the food bank, we donate to Kits House. Every year we’re going around raking leaves of the neighbour’s yards,” Plester said.

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Security detail has also been a job the club has taken on over the years, once called in to keep watch at a Rolling Stones concert in the 1990s.

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“We stood all around keeping an eye on the guests, making sure they didn’t do anything stupid. And they didn’t,” said Cohen.

New seasons are underway and members are celebrating the past century, sharing stories passed down through generations, and making new memories to last a lifetime.

“Once a Meraloma always a Meraloma and that’s what we want to instill in everybody,” Cohen said.

“This clubhouse is a second home to everybody,” Plester added. “It’s a sports organization but it’s a family to most.”

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