Today is a BIG day in the NB basketball world.... today is the day of the Provincial Championships, played here in Fredericton at the Aitken Center. Well I remember the excitement from several years ago when Mark was one of the FHS Black Kats, the top seeded AAA team in the province. The entire season "builds" to this day- the day you get to set foot on the floor at the Aitken Center. It's pretty exciting stuff for high school players. And although my son is no longer part of it, we'll be there.
I think the crowds today will surpass other years, even though the "Final Twelve" has been cut down to the "Final Eight". Why? Because today the Bathurst Phantoms are playing in the AA championship. And I'll be there, cheering them on, wearing RED. Oh yes, tonight I'll be wearing Yellow and Black and cheering my heart out for FHS, as always: my Alma Mater and my son's team. Go KATS!! But this afternoon, I'll be in RED and cheering on those Phantoms. This team has done the unthinkable. They have rebounded from a terrible tragedy last January - a motor vehicle accident on their way home from a game in Moncton, which claimed the lives of 7 of their players, and the coach's wife. The whole country poured out love and support for the city of Bathurst, as we watched on national TV the coverage of those sad days, the grief, the public mass funeral. I was so very proud of the way the city handled the intrusion of the media at such a greif-stricken time, when families must only want privacy to grieve the loss of their loved ones. Yet, the Mayor, School Principal and even some of the parents were kind and patient enough to speak with reporters and answer difficult questions. I cried my eyes out for those families, trying to imagine what they were going through. I kept picturing my own "basketball family" - the parents and the boys you become so close to, as they play together over the years -Geoff, Luke, El, Brad - you love them all like your own sons - I kept picturing us waiting in the parking lot at FHS, for the van to pull in, home from another road trip.... and then getting a phone call, that there had been an accident..... unimaginable....My heart broke for those families and the Coach......
But they've re-built the team this year, with a new coach. They've had a great season, with a 34-3 record, and heading into todays' final on a 26 game winning streak. I would think every person in the province who even knows what a basketball looks like, would be there today to cheer them on. I will be there, supporting the Phantoms...wearing RED!!
Last January, I was working on this Miniature, when I heard about the accident. It was nearly done and I was trying to decide on a name for it....something other than just "Red Bear Paw".... And then I knew- "Pause for the Boys in Red".
It is 15 1/2" square, with blocks of 3 1/2", each individual paw is 1 1/2" . It is not paper-pieced; I used Thangles for the "claws"....
I will never look at this quilt without thinking of the Boys in Red... Rest in Peace Javier, Daniel, Nick, Nathan, Codey, Justin, Nikki and Beth.
To accomplish great things, we must dream big and believe that with faith, perseverance, hard work and prayer, we will succeed.