Once In A While….

Like many people, we generally love sports. We love the idea of groups and individuals competing hard in a contest and then enjoying the camaraderie of a shared interest after the contest is over. We have always felt that sports are a way to bridge gaps, bring people together and have a good time while doing it.

Lately, some of our love for sports has begun to wane. Whether it be NFL players who feel “disrespected” by offers of $30 million dollar contracts, tennis players who yell and spit at umpires, players who when they score in football or soccer think they did it all by themselves and run away from teammates screaming “look at me!” Accusations of cheating at the Little League World Series for teams stealing signs (Here’s an idea…..change your signs.), major league pitchers throwing at the heads of opponents in the wake of bat flips, taunting and general stupidity, we have simply gotten tired of the entitlement mentality.

Then came this story

At first glance this is a nice story. Women lacrosse players from Kenya came to the under 19 World Lacrosse Championships in Peterborough, Ontario, without cleats. Actually, the footwear they had ordered were unwearable and a group of local business people stepped up and bought the girls sneakers which allowed them to play. However, when rains came and the field became wet prior to a game against Israel, the Kenyan women started to slip and slide.

The Israelis had no idea what was happening until after the game.

Then they did something very cool. The Israeli team went out and bought cleats for the Kenyan team and gave them to the women.

How Kenya even got to the championships is somewhat an amazing story when you consider how impoverished Kenya is.

With 22 countries participating, Team Kenya came in 18th place. It sounds like an unfortunate ranking, but for the first African team to compete at a lacrosse world championship it is quite the contrary.

Kenya sent 18 young women to compete. Coach Storm Trentham told Global News there were “lots of challenges, lots of roadblocks, but you know there’s 18 reasons here today why we just carried on.”

Proper travel clothing was among the challenges the team faced.

“If they wanted to be a part of the team and travel, they had to put five pairs of underwear together… and they were struggling with that,” explained Rose Powers of Sport a Rainbow, a Peterborough-based initiative encouraging diversity and inclusion in sport.

“Players were coming to those coaches and they were saying, ‘I don’t have five pairs of underwear. I don’t own that,’” she said.

Ashlee Aitken, a liaison for Team Kenya in Peterborough, added, “There was a million obstacles even before their arrival, in getting them here, in getting the visas and passports, just that alone was months of planning.”

For some reason, this story seems to be under reported. We can’t find as much mention of it as one would think.

Maybe it is because it goes against the narrative of some many people. After all, how dare Israel do something good? How dare countries get along? How dare people of different ethnicities and cultures become friends? How dare race not enter into this? How dare someone help another person without government involvement?

Frankly, we needed a “feel good” story this week. We’ve been dealing with some rather incompetent people in a particular public agency and it has been frustrating. We are tired of mass shootings and people blaming guns and not the idiots who do it. We are tired of the political division. We are tired of people in government who get elected saying they won’t increase taxes or spending and then do a 180 and do just that. As one of our staff puts it, “they get elected and then start to spend like drunken sailors.”

It’s been a frustrating week.

Yet even amongst the frustration there are always little spots of light that encourage us and make us believe that most people are genuinely good people.

Sometimes we all need to be reminded of that.

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