My suggestion that our community give $50,000 to Sylvan Lake, Alta. if we won $100,000 in the Hockeyville competition generated a lot of response and struck a real nerve.
I wanted people to share their thoughts, and invited that in the column. I appreciate all of the people who took the time, whether they agreed with my position or not, to take part in what I believe to be a compelling and valuable community discussion. It is my personal opinion that sharing part of our potential winnings would have been a kind, generous thing to do for a community that suffered a great loss with the roof collapsing on one of their two ice sheets. I was interested in what other people thought.
I do not expect everyone to agree with me and I accept any and all criticism of my viewpoint. As citizens have pointed out, there are many compelling reasons why Salmon Arm should have kept all our winnings, not the least of which is that the Hockeyville competition rules and regulations may have legally prevented such a gesture. This idea came from my heart and from the knowledge that Salmon Arm is a truly wonderful community where people step up to help others.
In the Robert Fulgum book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, number one on his list was: Share everything. It was in this spirit that the column was written. It is a value I hold true and am trying to instill in my own children, two of whom are kindergartners themselves.
But Fulgum also has another item on his list – number seven, which is: say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
I owe an apology to the people in this community who would have been tasked with making the decision about how the money would be used. My idea could have put them in the position of looking greedy if they did not share. These are not selfish people, they are honourable community members who deserve respect and admiration. They have the community’s interests at heart.
My hope was that this would build a spirit of friendship between our two communities and focus on helping others, much as we would appreciate help getting our kids back on the ice if Salmon Arm was in the same situation as Sylvan Lake. Much good has come out of this discussion and I am heartened by how many people from Salmon Arm, Sylvan Lake and other places have respectfully expressed their feelings.
Since this column was first posted online Thursday, Salmon Arm lost out to Sylvan Lake on the bid to advance to the top two in the competition. So at this point my idea will go no farther, except that it started an interesting conversation and I think has been successful on many levels in building bridges between our two communities. I heard as much from Sean McIntyre, the mayor of Sylvan Lake. We talked about possibly trading hockey jerseys to place in our respective arenas in recognition of the spirit of sportsmanship between our towns. I wish Sylvan Lake well in their bid, I am glad Salmon Arm will see $50,000 worth of benefits to the Shaw Centre and I am cheered by the fact that the true Canadian spirit of giving, caring and sharing remains alive and well.