Once a star

by lulujane on April 28, 2016

Over the last few months I was remotely aware of a student at a local high school who seemed destined for greatness because of his prowess on the basketball court. Because he was an immigrant, he was housed with the basketball coach, someone in our community who has a strong and successful reputation for coaching teen aged boys in the sport. Even though Nicola came to the school  identified as a seventeen year old, he appeared larger and stronger than someone this age, had a deeper voice, and even  a bit of gray in his beard. Given that he was only seventeen and relatively new to the sport, he was accomplishing great things on the school team and it was thought that he would likely have an opportunity to play professionally some day.

In an attempt to obtain a visa to enter the United States to play with his team, it was revealed that instead of seventeen, he was actually thirty years old.  In high school sports I understand that the maximum age to participate is twenty-one. Newspaper reports indicate that he was well liked by his team mates, that he was a good guy. Now he is being held in detention, with the strong likelihood of being returned to his home country.

Without paying attention to all of the detail in the case, this made me feel really grateful to be Canadian.  I have done nothing to earn my right to live in this wonderful country and the freedoms I enjoy. I am not alone when I say we take this for granted. And why, really, am I more entitled than someone else to be here?   Many of us have heard the phrase ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’.  I cannot imagine being a mother in a foreign country where there is limited opportunity,with me and my family experiencing hunger and deprivation of the necessities of life, in danger every day and living in fear.  I would want the best for my children.  The fact that people are driven to the extremes of deception and danger speak to the cold reality of their lives in their homeland.

I know there are rules, and their must be rules.  I also believe there must be compassion and understanding and sincere gratitude for the luck of the draw of being born in Canada.

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