Column: Joe Morinville

Joe was impressed with the 1,300 plus people riding in the Tour de l’ Alberta and is currently glued to the TV watching the Olympics. Here are some of his thoughts on sports.

1) So the ministers from all the federal, provincial and territorial governments met in Inuvik in June and endorsed a Canadian Sports Policy 2012. What the hell does that mean? They just woke up to the fact that safe and viable communities are built around community participating in any kind of sports activity? I guess they finally understand what we at the community level understood all along! It is not only about supporting our Olympic Athletes – it is about supporting the grass roots where they are developed or given a chance to try the activity at an early age.

2) Olympics are on and our eyes are focused on the big hype, but the more important hype should be around the fact that any given night people young and old are participating in activities that keep their mind and body busy.

3) Kids at the skateboard park in an unorganized activity are as important as the kids playing organized sports like soccer or baseball.

4) We should be happy when we have ball tournaments around the clock in Morinville as the middle-agers are out enjoying themselves, bringing money to Morinville and getting exercise. If we have a narrow mind and put up road blocks for teams to play sports in Morinville or because they might make noise, the whole point is lost! Those annoyances will help keep businesses viable and keep your taxes down. It is a good Sunday when all our restaurants are full of people in ball uniforms.

5) Stephen Mandel (whether you like him or not) gets the bigger picture. To him it makes sense to back the downtown arena, Indy races, and Canadian Finals Rodeo because he knows that is what brings money to town and raises the profile of Edmonton. It also introduces the world to the fact we do not live in Igloos. We have power and it is sunny more often than not.

6) When new Canadians settle in our country they are often enrolled in sports and in doing so become part of our communities. The new immigrants are also the new wave of support for our NHL and other pro teams. For example, cheering for and considering Montreal Canadians or the Oilers their team makes them a part of our country and community.

7) Who would have thought that 50 years ago when riding your CCM bicycle that in 2012 a ride with 1,300 plus participants would be one of the major rides in Alberta with its start and finish in Morinville. Has Morinville and its residents embraced this or do we see it as an irritant. Now I do not mean sponsorship from our community to support and or send Morinville money out of town, I just mean a more obvious presence or make it the Morinville Cycle Weekend. The Roger Champagne Annual Memorial Bike Trip with the many volunteers have given young people the thrill of riding through the mountains and, for many weeks of training, good exercise prior to the run.

8)The wonderful thing about sport is it means something different to each person: skiing, curling, bowling, cycling, skidoing,walking, hockey, softball, coed volleyball, square dancing, golfing – the list goes on and on. Some people pick out of the list and say that some are not really sports, just a place for an attitude. Regardless, it means people are moving, making and keeping friends and creating a cohesive community through interaction.

9) Sport adjusts itself to local needs. Some communities build around a hockey program, others around soccer or football…or in places like Whitecourt, it is around sledding. The magic is that it can be what the people want and if there is interest in any activity, the town fathers should fall all over themselves to help out in delivering the idea or concept.
A football team from Morinville could grow to be as important as our beloved Morinville Jets!

10) When any one person in any family starts participating in an organized or unorganized sports or physical activity it becomes a family commitment to attending games, practices, work out schedules etc. When recreation and activities come to town, you have less troubled youth hanging at the local haunts to meet that dealer … and we know who you are!

To close, sports are not about sports, competition and winning; it is about community and social unity for all in a safe community that is healthier. The sooner this town gets that point and not just pay lip service to the question then the town will truly continue to grow as the community we envision. Yes, it means subsidizing the arena, curling rink, baseball fields. Payoff cannot be measured and that means everyone will know your name even if we have 10,000 people if these facilities stay open and our used more regularly.

The next time you write a cheque to send Morinville money to an organization or company outside of town, think about sports and the kids. Money spent in Morinville reinvests and sponsors and supports sports in Morinville. Stop whining about a pool. It will come if you support all your businesses in Morinvile to the best of your ability!

I’m going to ask Sweetie if she’s seen the tire pump. I think I will go for a ride on my 10-speed Sekine, bought from Paul’s Sports Shop in the ‘70s.

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