Communication, location and politics

By Curtis J Phillips

My brother in law Ron Parker lives in the hamlet of Millarville, Alberta. A sister in-law Jean Parker used to teach in the Calgary bedroom community of Airdrie.

During the last couple of years if we chanced to talk about the Canada Winter Games or Canada Summer Games they could, if they knew, name off the local athletes that were representing their small communities.

I had to remain silent. This always gets my goat.

Each and every year, without fail, let me repeat, without fail, when the Team Alberta contingent is named for a Canada Winter Games or Canada Summer Games, for some strange reason, Fort McMurray has none or only a few athletes on the team.

From 1981 to 2011, the alumni list will show that Fort McMurray, be it an athlete, coach, manager or whatever, has had only 32 individuals make the cut.  Hat’s off to them. Well deserved.

Airdrie mind you, has had 30, while a community of similar size to us, say, Red Deer or Lethbridge, has had a whopping 285 and 188 totals over this same time span.  Are you telling me that Red Deer or Lethbridge produce better athletes than us at a 9-to-1 or 6-to-1 ratio?

Each year I get the same reasoning from the selection committee: “Perhaps your sport (select any one of 25 to choose from at the Winter Games or 18 different sports from the Summer Games) is going through a cycle”….or….”You have no one of that calibre at this time.”  A 30 year cycle?   No one of calibre for 30 years?

I wrote back in October 2014 that I had doubts that we would have any athletes representing Team Alberta at the upcoming 2015 Canada Winter Games that kick off in Prince George, British Columbia from February 13 – March 1, 2015.  The Team Alberta website now boasts 337 participants from 52 different Alberta communities as part of Team Alberta heading west in a few weeks.

Guess what?  You got it – Fort McMurray is not listed among the 52 different communities!

Airdrie, mind you has seven and Millarville two, so I guess my in-laws will have something to brag about again.  But I do not blame our athletic community because the simplicity may boil down to three words…communication, location and politics.

Catch you on the rebound.