When hockey ruled

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

Re­mem­ber the Stanstead Black-Hawks? Well some­one sure does as a pic­ture of the team fetched a sur­pris­ing amount on His­to­ria’s ‘ La fièvre des en­cans’, an­other ‘auc­tion re­al­ity show’ broad­cast last week.

There was a time when our are­nas, the for­mer one was the lat­est of a long string, were full and dozens of teams of all ages played or­ga­nized teams from the Town­ships, those Black Hawks be­ing one of them.

Com­mu­ni­ties ex­isted then. The con­cept is al­most for­eign now. When was the last time our towns cheered as one for their hockey team? Their schools?

There is a phys­i­cal dis­con­nect be­tween where we live and what we look like as a com­mu­nity. Fifty years ago, our towns were close knit so­ci­eties; peo­ple would live there for gen­er­a­tions, self-suf­fi­cient in a way. You did not have to go out of town, in all ma­jor vil­lages, to get any­thing needed to live. There was a whole gamut of stores - you could buy al­most ev­ery­thing in all small vil­lages or, for that mat­ter, in any big town’s neigh­bour­hood.

But, to­day, even the con­cept of neigh­bour­hood lacks the neigh­bour part in it. We’re in the ‘hood’ gen­er­a­tion. As if where we live can be de­fined as a hip-hop song, twerk­ing in­cluded. With­out the neigh­bour part, neigh­bour­hoods cease to ex­ist.

We will not go back to the time when you didn’t have to leave your vil­lage for months, even years, un­less there was an emer­gency. But what we need is to re­store a sense of be­long­ing, of own­ing where we live. Years ago, we saw the emer­gence of ‘re­gional’ school boards, cre­ated be­cause the fu­ture of ed­u­ca­tion meant that only huge, com­pre­hen­sive, high schools made sense. Look at two of our el­e­men­tary schools to­day. Both Ayer’s Cliff and Stanstead were once high schools, Stanstead be­ing the first ‘mod­ern’ one in Que­bec. Yet, what made sense in the six­ties doesn’t any­more. Our school board is at the fore­front of mak­ing com­put­ers part of the daily life of our stu­dents. Still, we bus stu­dents out of their com­mu­nity day af­ter day. No­body dar­ing to re­con­sider the way we teach. And as we have said be­fore, don’t count on those stu­dents leav­ing town to come back.

It would be hard to turn back the clock. Those good old days are over. But we can still do our part to re­gain a mod­ern com­mu­nity. Not the vir­tual kind, à la Face­book, but a real one. There are still stores, restau­rants, try­ing to make a living in our com­mu­nity. It may cost a dime more, but in the end you save glob­ally.

So this news­pa­per wishes that, in a cou­ple of decades, some­one at an auc­tion will bid higher than ex­pected for a me­mento cel­e­brat­ing the real re­newal of our towns. We de­serve it.

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