It ain’t no small-town thang

One of the most anticipated events of the winter has finally arrived!
The 25th-annual Ontario Scott Tournament of Hearts got underway here Monday, where 10 teams—with some of the best talent this competition has ever seen—are looking for a berth into the prestigious Scott Tournament of Hearts Championship later this month in London, Ont.
Besides the great action on the ice at the Fort Frances Curling Club that I’ve been enjoying over the past three days, there’s something else that really impressed me.
The amount of work that went into making this event so successful is beyond measurement.
The numerous volunteers and organizers who are giving up their own time to do anything—from selling tickets at the door to making sure there’s enough toilet paper in the women’s washroom—is something this town certainly should be proud of.
The funny thing is, residents of Fort Frances and district aren’t doing this for recognition or any sort of pay-off whatsoever—and that’s what is so impressive.
I could sit here and write that it’s the small-town thing. You know, people are just like that in small towns all over the place. But, truthfully I don’t think that is the case.
Yesterday morning on my way into the office, for instance, I had a five-minute conversation with a man walking past the front door. We chit-chatted about my new job and his family, he welcomed me to the town, and wished me the best of luck.
Back in November, my car got stuck in a snow storm and a friend of mine got up at 6:30 a.m. to take me to work. Then, I came home from work that day to find my landlord had shovelled me out while I was gone.
When I first moved here, I didn’t have a TV—and wound up with three of them in the end from people in my office.
With this week being the craziest week of my life (okay, maybe of my career), my friend, “Melster,” offered to go pick up my friends in Sprague, Man. who are flying in from Ottawa via Winnipeg today.
The list goes on and on and on.
So, the way I see it is, it’s not just a small-town thing. I’ve never experienced things like this in the city and I don’t think it’s exactly common in other small towns, either.
If a major city in Canada was asked to host this same tournament, I can almost guarantee it wouldn’t generate as many dedicated volunteers—and the majority of those helping out probably would expect some sort of pay-off.
Hold on, before city people start raging because you think I’m insulting people from major cities, obviously I’m not. Heck, I’m from a big city and I’m not exactly a fan of ripping into my friends and family on a regular basis.
What I’m saying is the organizers and volunteers have gone above and beyond their expectations for this event.
I should mention that after speaking with the 10 rinks vying for the provincial title here, each one of them made a point of starting off the interview by mentioning how friendly, warm, and accommodating people have been in Northwestern Ontario.
And I know that after speaking with organizers, volunteers, and chairmen of the Ontario Scott tournament, each and every single person has poured their heart and soul into making this event one to not only remember, but to be proud of.

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