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Thursday, July 7, 2022
Ross’s Ramblings: A chance to bring more diversity to NOTL Sports Wall of Fame
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Not to worry, folks, it is not my intent to write a scholarly academic article discussing the rights and freedoms of all sporting residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

However, let me attempt to spur thought and discussion, in the hopes that more nominations will be received this spring for the NOTL Sports Wall of Fame.

We know there are many wonderful people among us who deserve to be included on the Sports Wall of Fame at the Meridian Arena in Virgil. 

So many NOTLers have made a significant contribution to sports in our community. Especially during the ongoing deadly global pandemic, we have been reminded that sports are an integral component of a healthy and diverse community.

Diverse! There’s that word again. We have a hard-working and open-minded committee for diversity and inclusivity. To that end, I spoke to a member of the Sports Wall of Fame committee recently to voice my observation that there are currently 27 people honoured on our wall. 

All deserving, but somewhat homogeneous. There are 24 older white men and only three women. Hardly seems representative of the local population, eh?

He advised me that during the past decade, several women had been invited to join the selection committee, but only one had agreed to get involved.

I was reminded of my mom’s oft repeated response when I was complaining about something. This wise lady, from Cochrane, way up in northern Ontario, would calmly state, “You have exactly no right to complain if you don’t get involved.”  Words to remember, in today’s whiny  and critical society.

One can be inducted as an athlete or a builder. And yes, a few “Builders” have seemed a tad disappointed they weren’t being inducted as an “athlete.”  Just funnin’ ya …

In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms included the right to equality, including gender equality. Things change so fast now, with the various information sources available in our weird and wacky world.

Allow me to ramble a bit, and include a quick story from 1964 in St. Catharines, just to make a point about how fast our attitudes change.  What was accepted then, just 58 years ago, seems ridiculous now.  

For years, the Nicholson and Flowers families were highly respected Niagrans, high-achieving athletes in many sports. They were respected, to a point. Times were different then.

On our St. Catharines Lions Club midget (15 year olds, not diminutive) all-star hockey team was a smooth skating, lanky right winger named Mike Nicholson. His long legs seemed to be able to go in various directions. 

He was a great teammate and his nickname was “Spaghetti Legs.” We were told his hockey future was limited, because “they” had weak ankles. Nicholson went on to star at Brock and in 1968 became the first Black captain of a Canadian university hockey team

I’m just making a point, friends. Attitudes and thoughts change so fast. Happily. 

Let’s get some women nominated for our Sports Wall of Fame. Now. So many have brought honour to Niagara-on-the-Lake, both as athletes and builders.

Step up, ladies, and remember my mom’s words. Get involved and make a difference.