We have less than two weeks to go before Ally and I embark on this special adventure together. I have been able to catch some sunshine in between the snow storms, and the trails are starting to be pretty awesome. The highway kilometers are adding up, as are the trail kilometers during my lunch breaks. I’m just hoping we have some great days before we go!
And as excited as I am, the past week has been really tough. The tragic bus crash last Friday in Saskatchewan that claimed the lives of 16 members of the Humboldt Bronco’s junior hockey team family hit really close to home. I don’t know the players personally, I don’t know the families. But I do know Ally’s teammates from Humboldt, and from all over Saskatchewan. And I know what it’s like to be part of a sports family.
Ally has played competitive sports since she was 8 years old. Wolves soccer, then school sports – basketball, volleyball, track, cross country running, badminton – moving then to rep teams and club teams of basketball. She’s traveled across Western Canada and the USA, and even Cuba with these teams. As a parent you become part of a larger picture, a larger family. These kids you meet become really special, really important to you. You become part of an extended family; these kids become your own, in a sense. I always refer to them as my ‘kids’.
I am fortunate to work in a college where many of my kids attend. And also that Ally still stays in touch with teammates, opponents, and coaches from her past.
I’ve watched them grow up, become adults, and I’ve been able to be there for them when they need me. I am a race director of a small cross country running race, so I have known many of the regional runners for many years. We also have a club basketball team, and those kids have become my kids also….to watch the families of the Bronco’s players and team members go through this tragedy is so hard.
On any given weekend some of my kids are traveling to play a game. Some weekends, all of them are. I cannot fathom the hurt and pain the families are going through. I can only offer my sincere thoughts and prayers that they will be strong and work through their grief together, as a family. Sport can be amazing in that it brings people of all kinds together, joins them as one, helps them cope with things, and hopefully helps them heal as well.
To all my kids, and everyone else, I hope you know how much we care, and how much we pray for your safety on the roads and on the court/ice/field during the games. Please be there for each other, and please pray for healing for the families and community of the Humboldt Broncos. As we set off on this journey, these people will be in our thoughts.