‘I felt so hon­oured’

Cen­tral Kings bas­ket­ball player gifted medal by Shel­burne sports­man


Some­times in the sport­ing world things hap­pen that tran­scend sports and show what the high school sport ex­pe­ri­ence is all about.

Re­la­tion­ships are built and dis­cov­er­ies made that make sports a won­der­ful and valu­able learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence where young peo­ple grow and de­velop – not just as ath­letes, but as peo­ple.

This story is about an ex­pe­ri­ence that hap­pened to Cen­tral Kings Ru­ral High School se­nior boys bas­ket­ball point guard Nathan Par­nell when his team played in the Shel­burne Bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment.

The fol­low­ing is a story writ­ten by Nathan Par­nell:

It all started at our open­ing tour­na­ment. We’d just lost our game against Lock­e­port, so at the end of the game like we al­ways do, we lined up and shook each player’s and coach’s hand from the ri­val team.

As I walked down, con­grat­u­lat­ing the other team, there was an older man who shook my hand and said, “you’re a real great player.”

I smiled and nod­ded and said thank you. Af­ter that I went into the stands and said to my mom, “man I just had such a bad shoot­ing night, I played ter­ri­ble.”

The older man hap­pened to be by the stands and said that I was awe­some and that I was a great player – he kept say­ing it. It meant a lot to me, so I went down and started to talk with the man. He said he was look­ing for­ward to play­ing us again in the Shel­burne tour­na­ment next week.

We con­tin­ued to talk and it felt like we’d known each other for years. It was like an in­stant con­nec­tion. We shook hands once more and then we each left. He also said he loved my lead­er­ship and jok­ingly com­mented that he would’ve re­cruited me for his bas­ket­ball team if I weren’t in Grade 12.

When the Shel­burne tour­na­ment fi­nally ar­rived, I was head­ing into the game against Lock­e­port when I saw the man – we waved and said hello.

We ended up los­ing the game against Lock­e­port, but the man and I started talk­ing again, and I found out his name is Wal­ter Nick­er­son.

The next day we played West Kings and won the game. When I was head­ing into the locker room at the end of the game, I saw Wal­ter in the stands and he was cheer­ing me on. It was an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing, so when the game was all over Wal­ter wanted to talk to me again for one last time.

I sat down and he looked at me and said, “I prob­a­bly won’t see you again so I want to give you this.”

He gave me a medal – now at the mo­ment I was shocked be­cause this looked like some­thing that means a lot to him and turns out it did.

The medal he gave me was rep­re­sent­ing how many pad­dling races he won – over 50 elim­i­na­tion first-place fin­ishes. He re­ally wanted me to have it, so I took it and was speech­less.

I felt so hon­oured to be given this medal, be­cause to me it’s about more than bas­ket­ball.

We kept talk­ing about what it was like when he pad­dled, and about the races – it turns out he was the first and only 70-year-old to win one of these.

Since that day, I bring the medal to ev­ery sin­gle one of my games and kiss the front of it for good luck. It’s some­thing I’ll hold on to and cher­ish for­ever.

Wal­ter and I sure shared our mo­ments to­gether for the short time we knew each other, and I hope to see him again.


Nathan Par­nell holds the medal given to him by Shel­burne area res­i­dent Wal­ter Nick­er­son, who ad­mired his lead­er­ship on the court. The medal has be­come Par­nell’s good luck charm, and he said, “it’s some­thing I’ll hold on to and cher­ish for­ever.”

RCMP, teach­ers face off on the ice

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