I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a Canadian and I don’t love hockey.
So why am I writing about Hockeyville for a second time? My only explanation is this: community spirit is contagious.
Believe me, if it wasn’t, I’d be writing about something else entirely. I’d be writing about a topic that any North American could identify with since my column publishes beyond my hometown and I don’t want to bore my readers with articles they can’t relate to.
But who hasn’t at some time been caught up in the frenzy surrounding a special event in their own city, whether it be a festival, a parade or a sporting event? And who hasn’t known someone who’s miserable about all of it in the face of other people’s joy?
As thousands of my fellow residents have banded together in the last five months, writing letters and logging countless hours in an effort to win the bid for Kraft Hockeyville, there are a few who spend almost as much energy complaining about the whole idea.
If you’ve never heard of Hockeyville, it’s a contest sponsored by Kraft that gives smaller communities across Canada a chance to win $100,000 in arena upgrades, gain national exposure and receive the exciting opportunity to host an NHL game at their very own rink.
At this final stage of the contest, my hometown of West Kelowna is one of the five finalists and the frenzy here has hit impressive heights. And while it might appear that it’s because of the prizes being offered, I believe it’s because of the strong camaraderie being felt in a community that once felt very divided.
In my mind it’s proof that positive energy and working for the greater good can affect people in powerful ways. But not everyone.
“I think it’s stupid,” a grumpy gal told me one day. “It’s a huge waste of time. People need to get a life.” Oh well, you can’t please everyone.
For fun I went out and conducted interviews with people and public officials channeling her grouchy attitude. While I wouldn’t want to live my real life that way, she was a fun character to play for a few hours.
Being negative is tough. I know this because I get that way from time to time and it’s physically and emotionally draining. Switching gears to a more positive attitude isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
And the effort so many people have put into winning this contest has been worth it too. One of the things that divided our our new municipality a few short years ago was deciding on our name. That resolved, there’s now an overwhelming majority of us excitedly united and hoping to be called Hockeyville. Win or lose, that wonderful solidarity is an amazing prize that’s already ours.
To watch the video of me being a grumpy grump reporter, please visit LoriWelbourne.com