Inducted November 2, 1979
A dedicated and enthusiastic sportsman, versatile in many fields of athletic endeavour, Newfoundland has known few if any to equal John Victor Rabbitts in terms of athletic achievement or one with a deeper sense of dedication to sport. He became actively associated with competitive sports in 1923 when, as a youth of 14, he joined the Church Lads Brigade. His association with the C.L.B. was to span a lifetime and involve him in many athletic contests always as a representative of the C.L.B. Throughout his career he distinguished himself in a wide range of disciplines. He was an oarsman, hockeyist, soccer player, basketballer, a tennis star, an incomparable bowler and a trackman of note. He captained the victorious C.L.B. soccer team of 1934, which won that memorable three-game playoff series against Holy Cross.
Jack Rabbitts, familiarly known by his initials J.V.R., devoted his entire life to the promotion and chronicling of sport. He served in many executive capacities both throughout his playing career, and later in retirement, he broadened those activities notably as an organizer. For his efforts in promoting Bowling, a pastime which was to become one of the most popular local recreational pursuits, he became known as ‘Mr. Bowling’. He was no less active in other spheres of athletic endeavour. He was successful in stimulating interest in tennis notably among the young and became president of the Newfoundland Tennis Association. It was that body that placed his name in nomination as a candidate for Hall of Fame recognition.
J.V.R. was a dedicated sports enthusiast and meticulous researcher. Throughout his lifetime he wrote extensively for the local press always interestingly and ever with his well known enthusiasm in an effort to encourage greater sports participation. While Jack Rabbitts had a brilliant career as an athlete and merits recognition for his accomplishments in that sphere his athletic ability is overshadowed by his competence as a researcher and sports archivist. Throughout his lifetime he accumulated and preserved for posterity the most amazing collection of memorabilia dealing with our Newfoundland sports heritage which his widow Dorothy has generously bequeathed to the Newfoundland Sports Archives. Jack Rabbitts was indeed a Builder in every sense of the word.