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SPORTS LETTERBOX: More to Canada Games than medals, wins and losses

Canada Games Council
Canada Games Council - Contributed

I am writing in regards to the article written by Robin Short titled “Time for province to withdraw from Canada Games; if there’s no commitment from government, why should we even bother?”

I am writing this in hopes that Mr. Short can see another side of the story, but also in hopes that this can be shared more broadly to send a message of encouragement to the young athletes in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

My name is Rebecca Langmead and I am from Torbay. I competed on our Newfoundland and Labrador provincial women’s basketball team from 2006 until 2010. I attended nationals four times (Quebec, Vancouver, P.E.I. twice), the last of that being Canada Games.

Following high school, I attended Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. where I competed in the NCAA Division 2 for four years and completed my university degree.

I recently read his article regarding Canada Games. It shed light on aspects of the sports world in NL that has been apparent for years — lack of government funding, poor facilities, limited population base, and the list goes on.

I actually do not believe this pertains singularly to the Canada Games, but more broadly to the provincial teams year after year.

I also believe his article was short-sighted and poorly framed. He is right that historically Newfoundland and Labrador has not had a great showing at the national level. We generally finish in the last tier and medals are few and far between.

He posed the question, “why should we even bother?”. The reasons he provided were straight forward and logical, based on facts surrounding competition placement, funding, “ill-prepared athletes” and coaching staff.

However, I would argue the answer is not nested within that line of logic.

We should bother because our young athletes deserve an opportunity to compete at the national level, like every other province. We should bother because it provides them with exposure; to be seen by coaches throughout Canada for an opportunity to compete at the post-secondary level. We should bother because our athletes and coaches work hard and devote countless hours to hone their craft. Unbreakable bonds are created, memories forever burned into their brains. We should bother because no good sports story exists without the underdog.

If the government is not going to put the proper funding into nurturing sports within our province, it is his duty to foster that nurturing. Build up our athletes, honour them and their coaches for the time and dedication it takes. Use his platform to show our government why it is important that they invest in sport, rather than giving them a million reasons not to.

Provide the provincial government with examples of how the money they do invest changes the lives of young athletes in the province, and how those athletes deserve better.

The commitment from our government may be “disgraceful” but the commitment from our athletes, coaches, and support staff are not. To all involved out there, especially the athletes, your dedication and hard work matters. Your dreams are valid and your efforts are not going to waste.

Your devotion is not a joke, as may have been suggested by the article.

Rebecca Langmead,

Vancouver, B.C.

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