From the Cheap Seats by Jim Windle
I have learned my lesson. No more predictions! Instead, I would like to draw attention to the many local businessmen and women who have brought a sense of pride and accomplishment to Six Nations through their support of sports.
At one time, not that long ago, supporting sports entities and individuals was seen by many as an unnecessary hand-out. But more recently, the importance of sports in any community is being seen as an investment in the community and a boon to restaurants, lodging facilities, certainly sporting goods suppliers, souvenir and artisan shops and many more.
Years ago, with the Brant News (the first one) I wrote an article about how to turn local sports into an industry. From that came the birth of the Tournament Capital of Ontario organization. I am proud of that because TCO is still going and still bringing national and even international sporting tournaments of all kinds to my hometown of Brantford. When all is considered, the financial spin-off rewards of hosting sporting tournaments is in the millions of dollars.
Todd Stewart’s 2nd annual Wounded Warriors Tournament just finished off at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. There was a reason for him, a non-Native from Mimico, in choosing Six Nations to host the event.
According to Stewart who has played in the ILA before, the choice was not only because of the wonderful facility at the ILA, but also the cooperation and friendly help of the ILA staff. That’s really where it all begins.
Today, I’d like to thank those local Six Nations volunteers and staff for their service to the community. You continue to represent Six Nations well to the hundreds and even thousands of off-reserve athletes and their fans who come to Six Nations for both regular league play as well as special events like the Wounded Warriors Tournament.
At present, the new lacrosse field and track facility behind the Community Hall is underused for such a great venue. I’d like to see it being used to host more tournaments and for the possible development of house league field lacrosse here.
The ball diamonds are well used and the Red Men fastball team has brought countless non-Native visitors to the community along with regular league play at all levels.
Sports Tourism is a very real industry, which Six Nations is poised to take advantage of, especially now that more non-Natives are becoming aware of the uniqueness of Six Nations. As a non-Native myself who has worked almost every day over the past 15-years at Six Nations, I can say with some authority that the average non-Native has a wrongly skewed opinion of this community and its people. Some are even afraid to come visit here. Through sports, this wall is being torn down and more and more non-Natives I speak to have begun to overcome these “bugga-boos” and have found Six Nations to be a beautiful community of friendly people and great athletes. They are right.
Over that time, I have learned a lot and am still learning every day I spend at Six Nations. I have found it to be much different from my life in Brantford, and even on my days off, my wife and I still just come out Highway 54 and take a spin through your community. It relaxes me and brings me peace. For that I thank you. I am looking forward to what 2016 will hold as more and more non-Natives discover who you are, as I have.