Wikwemikong athletes are Team Ont. hopefuls in badminton and basketball

Wikwemikong b-ballers Adrian Trudeau, Colten Trudeau, Wyatt Metansinine-Bell, Jenmee Bondy, Gregory Trudeau-Paquet, Dante Kitchikeg, back row, Bradlee Kitchikeg (kneeling) and John Matheson (sitting) pose for a photo at the Team Ontario tryouts. Missing from photo is Shanna and Taylor Peltier.

RAMA FIRST NATION—Wikwemikong First Nation youth ventured out once again in pursuit of athletic endeavours, this time travelling to the basketball tryouts for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) on Saturday, March 29 and on Sunday, March 30 for a training session for badminton players on the Rama First Nation.

Saturday’s session of male basketball players saw about 40 participants while Sunday had a small number of nine coming out for badminton. With each sporting event the youth are all hoping to gain a spot to represent Team Ontario at the North American Indigenous Games.

These tryouts and training sessions were hosted by Rama First Nation and the hosts did a fine job by welcoming the youth with a continental breakfast and providing them with lunch on both days. The weekend was fabulous, exhilarating, and certainly created a sense of pride in all the youth that came out to these tryouts. They participated in the drills, listened attentively to the coaches and most of all had fun with other First Nation boys that they had just met.

As Colten Trudeau said, “Basketball was fun to meet new people and it was a great experience to practice with them.”

Adrian Trudeau shared, “The coaches knew what to look for in a person and knew what to test you on. They taught us how to shoot the ball properly.”

The day’s events started promptly at 9:30 am with drills instructed by one of the coaches with the head coach and assistant coaches watching and making notes. In no time the youth were working up a sweat running drills geared for basketball players. There was no time to sit back and relax; once the drills were completed the youth were divided up into the respective division U14, U16 and U19 with one coach leading a series of skills development for each division. They had a brief break for a lunch of sandwiches, fruit and veggies, then it was off to some serious scrimmaging at which time the coaches had a good opportunity to watch and consult with one another as they jotted down notes on the ones that caught their eyes with their skills level.

All the youth that I transported to Rama enjoyed themselves—it was a memorable weekend listening to them sings round dance songs, telling stories and periodically using the Ojibway language on the drive to Rama. It was a joy to watch them as they participated in the two days of activities. I would like to say meegwetch to Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve and the Wikwemikong Development Commission who made this endeavour possible. The search for potential athletes to represent Team Ontario continues and is open to all First Nations youth ages 13 to 19-years-old.

The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) is taking place in Regina, Saskatchewan in July. NAIG organizers are encouraging anyone who has plans to participate, be it an athlete, volunteer or chaperone, be registered on the portal. This deadline has been extended to Friday, April 11 (go to aswco.ca, click on NAIG and scroll down to “registration”). Please note: If you do not register on the portal by April 11 you will not be eligible for the final roster selections and participate for the Aboriginal Team Ontario. For more information look on Facebook, search for Aboriginal Team Ontario, or if you have some questions you can contact Sharon Lavallee on Facebook.