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Sports ‘n’ things: COVID-19: a sign of better times

Dave Thompson brings his unique view to Trail’s sporting world and the world in general

It is probably almost slipping by, almost unnoticed and not that big a deal given the turmoil of Covid 19, but the receivership for Birchbank is a symbol of the change in our community.

It is, however, a clear indication of the fact that the spirit that has made this place remarkable is ebbing.

Covid 19, rather than a reason, will be used as a convenient excuse for things that once were emblematic of the Home of Champions disappearing.

We could once say we had everything except what the population disparity between us and big cities (many of which, like Kelowna and the Okanagan centers, even Langley and Chilliwack, were struggling smaller centers not that long ago) were able to offer, only because some events required large numbers to be possible.

Of course, the behemoth on the Tadanac hill was key, but, beyond that, there was an attitude among the populace that if we wanted things available, we had to be commited to supporting both their provision and use.

We have things, a hospital, an aquatic center, parks and fields and arenas and, yes, golf courses, because people thought they were good things to have and were willing to commit to both building and supporting their existence – kinda whatever it took.

Golf is struggling everywhere. More than 1200 courses have shut down in North America in the last two decades. It is struggling, obviously, here, too. That is reality.

Part of the reason for that is the fact that courses were built to take advantage of the big bucks that were being spent by players when the courses were fewer and in greater demand by people who figured out that they, too, could afford the rich man’s game, and that that game was challenging and enjoyable – worth doing.

Here in the Home of Champions, where people were good, world class, at everything, and they were, after all, just your neighbours, there was always the idea that anyone could do what those neighbours could, if they could afford it.

Pretty comfortable economy here, so people, with smaller families and paid for homes, began to feel they could afford it.

So, people began to do it, and the people that were organizing things pushed harder to provide places for them to participate. So, here a bit more than other places, facilities were provided.

Then, such opportunities arose in other places, places more accessible by people that all had vehicles. And the children of the people that made this the Home of Champions began saying, “I can afford to spend 20 dollars in gas to save ten bucks on a round of golf, or half a buck on a pound of ground beef, and a hotel, and dinner, etc. I don’t have to stay (support local) in my home town, ever.”

And the town began to shrink, and accomplishments became fewer, and facilities less worthy, and those attitudes more justifiable. And so it goes, and goes away, soon. Away goes Birchbank, once a symbol of what a great place this was to live, raise families and do stuff.

Because, you know, it is not, “needed,” anymore. At least not by the people that can afford to support its existence.

Just as with a once bustling downtown, Birchbank is another, “Oh Well,” that people will remember falling by the wayside while they carried on with their lives.

Some will think it is sad. A lot won’t have any emotion but blah.

Sad for those of us who know how hard it was to build it all in the first place. Just another thing out of the way of consideration for those without that knowledge.

Here’s a tip. Treasure, in word, deed and commitment of your available resources. the things that have made this community great. Far fewer numbers than have been able to take advantage of that greatness are considering supporting it.

“That’s just the way it is.”

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