The sky’s the limit

A story this week profiles Duncan Keith, a 22-year-old former Fort Frances resident now playing in his rookie season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Who could have known, when he was first going to public skates with his parents at the old Memorial Arena, or perhaps playing with his friends on outdoor rinks around town, that a future NHL’er was in our midst?
Last week, a story featured Christin Thomson, a Fort High graduate now making her mark on the links at the U.S. college level. She has dreams of someday qualifying for the LPGA Tour.
Then there’s Alex Parent. He hasn’t let losing a leg to cancer stop him from pursuing his goal of swimming for Team Canada at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China.
Other locals have shone on the sports stage. Mike Allison as a player in the NHL for about a decade. His brother, Dave, had a stint as head coach of the Ottawa Senators. Chris Lindberg won a medal playing hockey for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. And there was Jeff Treftlin, who excelled on special teams in the CFL for several years.
Still more have followed their dreams in other fields. Howard Hampton rose from rookie MPP in 1987 to leader of the provincial NDP—and potentially could be premier of Ontario someday. There’s Eryn Reid, who has been making a name for herself in the world of fashion since leaving Fort Frances High School.
The common thread, of course, is that young people growing up in Rainy River District can accomplish anything they put their hearts and minds to. We’ve had prime ministers from Baie Comeau and Shawinigan. Why not Fort Frances or Rainy River?
Why can’t a future “Canadian Idol” hail from Emo or Devlin, or someone from Nestor Falls win an Oscar? Or the next J.K. Rowling emerge from Barwick. Why can’t the first person to set foot on Mars, or perhaps be a member of the team that helped design the spacecraft to get there, have grown up in the Stratton area?
Who among us may find the cure for cancer—or heart disease or diabetes?
Being a famous athlete, artist, singer, or scientist doesn’t hinge on where you’re from. It’s about pursuing a dream, honing your skills or talent, and believing the sky’s the limit. Just ask Duncan Keith.

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