Saturday, February 24, 2024

A Tip of the Hat to Local Heroes Who Support Youth Athletes

By Stephen Vance, Editor

For a small town, Meaford (and the immediate area) is certainly churning out top-notch youth athletes these days. Medals and ribbons, and trophies have been piling up around runners, skiers, and even competitors in the sport of biathlon have found their way to gold.

When teenagers earn medals and trophies, it is the result of a lot of hard work and determination, and it is also the result of several levels of support.

From parents to teachers to coaches, that support and guidance helps young athletes achieve great things, and so a community like Meaford rightly expresses pride in these young champions.

The lessons to be learned through sport can be applied far beyond the field, or the track. Commitment, work ethic, practice; when a youth is competing in sports they develop far more than speed and strength, they develop character.

The adults who help make the opportunities for these athletes possible are rarely captured on the front page of the paper, and the medals don’t hang on their own walls, but they are heroes and champions also. They nag the kids to train, they celebrate the victories, and they have open arms and tissues for the soul-crushing losses.

When Camryn Metzger returned home from the Canada Winter Games in British Columbia, she sent me a note to say that the event was amazing, and that while Camryn didn’t return home with any medals this time, the experience was valuable.

Camryn had a tough day on the Super G placing 13 but turned it around for the GS event placing 7 th.  In the Slalom she was sitting 4th after the first run which was amazing – she really charged down the hill in the second run in an effort to move up and land on the podium but she risked a little too much and ended up not finishing that run which was very disappointing but is part of the sport,” wrote Camryn’s mom and coach.

Hannah Woodhouse worked her way to a silver medal in Barranquilla, Colombia at the 2015 PanAm Cross Country Championships. Like most athletes, Hannah too is surrounded by heroes. Family, friends, teachers, and coaches work behind the scenes to help athletes like Hannah succeed.

The Georgian Shores hockey organization has dozens of young hockey players – boys and girls – who have found their own successes this winter, and they too should be congratulated for all of their hard work.

There are surprisingly too many successful sport programs in the area to be able to name them all, but they are all worthy of recognition.

Meaford and the surrounding area should feel great pride for the achievements of these fine young athletes, and we should perhaps take a moment to thank all of the parents, coaches, teachers, business owners who sponsor events, doctors and nurses who patch these kids up when their sport batters them.

It takes a village to raise an athlete.

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