COLUMN: Don’t stop believing

Opinion on the small-town bias and how it affects athletes everywhere

The Prince Rupert rugby program is featured in this week’s paper a few times with athletes such as Hannah Scherr and Cody Schaeffer showcasing their talents across the globe in tournaments in Paris and Dubai respectively.

While their stories are inspirational, there is another narrative I found in both of their stories — neither of them ever expected a small town kid to make it.

Complacency is the greatest killer of dreams, right beside doubt, and those two killers haunt the dreams of many young athletes.

That is what this week’s rant is about, this intrinsic small-town bias that is instilled across the country, and to a larger scale, the world. The idea that “I can’t because I’m not born in a big city.”

Everybody seems to think the only way to succeed is through the big city, and that they are out of luck if they are born in a fringe town like Rupert. But I ask why?

While these small-town success stories may seem like they are few and far between, they really aren’t.

Yes, the big cities are where the successful end up, drawing those people who chase the ever-elusive promise of superstardom toward their bright lights and staggering skyscrapers.

RELATED: Prince Rupert rugby star to play in Dubai tournament

But these success stories often start in small towns, especially in athletics. The Great One Wayne Gretzky didn’t shoot holes through his laundry machine in a yard in Toronto. He did it in a suburb in Brantford.

Joe Montana didn’t hone his arm under the bright lights of New York. He did it in the dim glow of the street lights in New Eagle, Pennsylvania.

Hammerin’ Hank Aaron didn’t perfect his homerun swing on a diamond in Dallas. He did it in Mobile, Alabama.

The list could go on forever, but the point is, we need to instill the belief in this generation and every generation afterward that this so-called small-town hindrance is nothing of the sort, rather it’s a motivator.

Motivation to break the chain and become something special. Schaeffer and Scherr are examples of youth who found something they love and excel at. They turned their passion into a chance to leave the small town and show the world that these small-town kids are not to be trifled with.

They aren’t the first and they won’t be the last, but the goal is to make sure that every child thinks they have the chance to do something special, no matter the location on their birth certificate.

RELATED: Rupert rugby player shines for Barbarians


 


nick.laws@thenorthernview.com

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