Clean up your act

The fact I even need to mention the following shows that the appropriate parties involved in this mess are either clueless or disrespectful, or both.
This message does not go out to all of you who use the Memorial Sports Centre for your recreational purposes. I even would go so far as to say that this doesn’t go out to the majority of you who enter the facility.
No, this goes out to you people—old and young, tall and small—who have decided that treating the Sportsplex like your personal landfill and demolition site is acceptable behaviour.
Recent reports have revealed an alarming amount of vandalism occurring within the walls of this building that’s barely three years old. It’s enough to make you shake your head in disbelief, and your fist in anger—especially if you’re one of the many generous souls who made a financial investment in the place to aid in its construction.
The hockey players’ dressing rooms have been found in nauseating states of disrepair. People unfamiliar with the art of swallowing, apparently, have been spitting all over the change area. Clothes pegs have been broken off the wall.
Garbage cans obviously have been deemed unnecessary decorations as scads of popcorn and other food items are thrown helter-skelter. Even toilets are backed up, then left to create a sickening stench for those who would come in after.
Then there’s the spectators’ area in the Ice for Kids Arena. Seats are being broken. Cigarette butts, also a problem in the dressing rooms, are being discarded in the aisles (evidently you Nicotine Norms and Nellies missed the rather obvious “No Smoking” signs in the building).
In other parts of the facility, there’s glass being broken on doors and graffiti being scribbled on walls.
The problem has become so intolerable, in fact, that the Town of Fort Frances is going to such lengths as to hire a private security firm to patrol the building.
While there’s nothing official yet, such a move more than likely would lead to a hike in user fees for those who partake in the many recreational options available at the Memorial Sports Centre.
You’d think such a possibility would lead people to smarten up. But that would be hoping for too much. Instead, the vast majority of facility patrons get the chance to absorb higher costs because of the actions of the few.
Reasonable expectations must be applied when trying to appeal to the masses on such an issue. Those of you who get the point probably don’t cause problems, anyway.
On the other hand, those of you who can’t comprehend this basic concept are going to continue destroying and degrading one of the newest and nicest recreational facilities in Northwestern Ontario.
But if just one of you reads this and wakes up to the ludicrous nature of your outlandish and inexcusable behaviour, perhaps it’s served some purpose.
You have a gem of a building in the Memorial Sports Centre. Pay tribute to those who gave you this treasure by treating it with the same respect you would treat your own house.
Because this house belongs to all of us.
• • •
One volleyball tournament replaces another locally this weekend.
The Muskie junior girls’ event, which was supposed to take place beginning Friday, unfortunately has been axed from the schedule due to the lack of available hotel rooms in Fort Frances.
Filling the void, however, will be the Rainy River District Athletic Association Bantam championship, which has been moved ahead from its original Dec. 6 date.
This latter event will take place Saturday, and will be spread out among St. Francis School, St. Michael’s School, Robert Moore School, and the Couchiching Recreation Centre.
The final two sites will host the playoff rounds, beginning in mid-afternoon. So if spiking is to your liking, go out and support the young court stars of tomorrow.
• • •
The CanSkate Christmas party will take place this Tuesday (Dec. 2) from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Ice for Kids Arena.
There will be a variety of skating exhibitions as part of the activities, and Santa Claus himself will arrive for the youngsters to get their pictures taken with at 6 p.m.
If St. Nick checks his list more than once, I guarantee I’ll be a major player in the coal acquisition market.
• • •
A superstar salute to all those Fort High students, including grand prize winner and Muskie multi-sports participant Laura Busch, who took part in the “SMOKING! Don’t Start-Quit and Win” contest last month throughout Northwestern Ontario.
I’ve seen firsthand how one’s health can be ravaged by a nicotine addiction. My father spent many years battling smoke-induced bronchitis, and it was a painful sight to watch him cough uncontrollably because of his decades-long habit.
The benefits for all of you who decided to kick your addiction in the butt, as well as those of you who already are smoke-free, are both short- and long-term, and almost too numerous to list.
Pat yourselves on the back. You’ve earned it!

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