When hockey ruled
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.