Courier editorials – Community, caring, and some cheering; why it all matters

So, lets establish some truths out of the gate. First, I enjoyed my pandemic time, and the lack of crowds and crazy schedules. As a natural introvert, social interaction depletes me and those two years allowed me the opportunity to be very much in control of where I went and when I went there. Not being in crowded sports arenas and other venues was for me a bright spot in the COVID crap.

Second, although it seems a lifetime ago, I thoroughly enjoyed my time covering the St. Stephen Aces when the junior A team existed in town. Really, I enjoyed the personal relationships I formed with team management and some players; many of those friendships remain today. But the Aces were my inaugural foray into covering sports in a more in-depth manner and I have only fond memories of that time.

Okay, so all that being said and true, when I discovered I would be covering the Game Time Irishmen and the Southern Senior Hockey League, I felt somewhat ‘meh’ about it all.

Why did I have to put myself back in the sphere of the crowded arena. Why did I have to work at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday night when I could sit in my comfy chair in my comfy leggings and hoodie and while my husband and I watch The Martian again for the 25th time. Just…why.

But I have been reminded of why, and I’m here for it.

On Saturday night at the very crowded Garcelon Civic Center, the Irishmen hit the ice against the River Valley Rock for game 6 of the seven game league championship series.

The crowd was jacked-up. The teams were jacked-up. Even the event staff onsite were excited. The energy that filled the arena was palpable.

And the cheer when the Irishmen won could be heard well outside the building.

And here’s the thing. While I love, and am now fiercely protective of, my alone time, this series of games with our county team reminded me that while protecting my time as the valuable resource it is matters, so too does being out in public, engaging with others and cheering on your home town team.

I phoned a good friend Saturday morning to tell them some news in my life and we ended-up chatting for 45 minutes about everything from amalgamation to the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial. We did what my Nanna would have called ‘catching-up’, and it was great to actually have a conversation rather than a typed interaction via text or Messenger – which is admittedly my auto go-to.

But as the crowd collectively cheered the Irishmen on, this Grinch’s small heart grew a size or two and I was reminded how community and connection do make a difference in our lives, and how important it is to keep those connections alive.

And sports, music, parades, school plays; all these events we lost for so many years are finally returning in full force and I find myself more open to the idea of enjoying them, having realized what we lose when they are gone. The contribution of these type of events and the value in attending them can’t be overstated.

To the Irishmen, I give my hearty congratulations, and thank-you for reminding me cheering in the stands with friends and community isn’t such a bad way to spend a Saturday night after all.

Krisi Marples