By John Moore, Columnist
It could be said Maskwa athletes have had the most winning season in club history this year. In fact, Maskwa Aquatic Club, located on beautiful Kearney Lake may have set a record for winning the most paddling events in one summer of any paddling club in Canadian history. From the lower ages on up Maskwa pretty well won all the competitions including the National Sprint Canoe Kayak Championship held at Lake Banook in early September.
It was the club’s 3rd time winning the Nationals and 1st time winning the Masters Nationals Championship. The club also has a large Para and Paddleall contingent who contributed mightily to helping win these championships. Despite all the winning, the club’s head coach Christian Hall was very circumspect about it all, attributing the success the club had this season to hard work and every athlete who participated put their best effort forward.
At the recent celebration banquet at Maskwa, Christian told the athletes “There are no individual superstars here, you are all superstars!” It didn’t matter whether they participated in just one event or several of them, they all equally contributed to the winning effort. It’s this kind of leadership that encourages and motivates athletes to do their best whether they win a medal or not. It’s a team effort and everyone is a part of that team. This is what builds great team spirit. In a world where there are so many trying to outdo one another and looking for their own self recognition at all costs this indeed is a breath of fresh air. This is something we could all learn from whatever endeavors we may be pursuing.
We should go back in history a bit to see just how far Maskwa has come in its almost 50 years. It all began in 1974 when then Alderman Alphie Hamshaw and a few others wanted to form a paddling club on Kearney Lake. Over the years the club slowly evolved but it also had many struggles and challenges. There are many in this community who know this history. There are many who have been members of Maskwa over the years having spent many fond summers watching their children learn to swim and paddle. There were lean times as many will recall where the club almost shut down because of declining numbers. There were lots of challenges to overcome and yet Maskwa persevered. As a friend of mine once said, Maskwa is like a good stock. “You better get in early otherwise it’ll be too late.” In any event the club grew, expanded its building and then grew even more. Through a succession of good coaches, solid leaders and a dedicated board of directors.
So here we are today. The huge success Maskwa is now enjoying has taken years to develop but now a solid foundation has been built to keep this success going, I believe many years to come. Maskwa is now a paddling dynamo the best Canada can offer and the second largest paddling club in Canada next to Rideau in Ottawa. I might add right here in our backyard. Speaking of which, Maskwa will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024. Stay tuned for more details. Happy Remembrance Day and have a great November!
Photo credits to: https://www.facebook.com/MaskwaHalifaxNS/