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Taking chances


Last week’s bus crash just outside Grand Falls-Windsor should open our eyes to the dangers of being on the road during inclement weather.

With over 50 people travelling from the west coast for a figure skating event, the crash that occurred Thursday evening could have had tragic consequences. Thankfully, the injuries were minor, for the most part.

It seems to be a rite of passage for sports teams to travel in treacherous weather to reach a tournament or event. It’s not that they want to be on the road in bad weather, but what choice do they have?

Doesn’t that last sentence make you stop and pause? Coaches, parents and event organizers do have a choice. The choice they make should be in the best interests of the children. Sometimes competition seems to blur that line of common sense.

There have been situations in the past where school has been cancelled due to bad weather, yet a tournament planned for the same weekend goes ahead. There are parents who complain when school is not closed in less than ideal weather, yet those same parents would trek across the island rather than withdraw their child from an event.

No sports event is worth risking your safety for. That bus probably shouldn’t have been on the road in such adverse weather last week, but it was and we should all learn something from it. Safety comes first. It wasn’t safe to be on the road last Thursday night.

There was an incident in Labrador a number of years ago where a young father lost his life travelling home from a hockey tournament in bad weather. Who remembers the scores from that weekend? Who came home with the trophy? All anyone remembers from that is the loss of a husband and father.

Sports are fun and so they should be. Tournaments give players and athletes a chance to put to use the skills they have practised, but it’s not the end of the world if you miss a game or two.

You do have a choice to sit it out if the weather isn’t co-operating. Or you can take a chance and hope for the best.

The next time the weather is bad, think past the medals and banners and take into account what really matters, the safety of the young athletes and everyone else on the bus.

 

—   Karen Wells

kwells@pilotnl.ca

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