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2013 Inductees
Sabres 1986 Football



Acceptance Speech
by Ross MacEachern

Thank you and good evening honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, fellow Sabres and inductees and their family and friends.

First I would like to thank Ron Emmerling and Bill Mojelski for nominating me and the Wetaskwin and County Sports Hall of Fame for this special honor. They have been great friends, colleagues and mentors. This is one of the highlights of my life.  Also I am especially delighted that both Hazel Emmerling and her daughter, Tracy are here this evening.

 Receiving this award has made me reflect on my life:

1. What did I do?

Played and competed in many sports and activities for 70 years.  Also coached and administrated athletics and sports for 50+ years. To quote my wife Colleen “You never worked a day in your life!  It was all fun and games!”

2. What could I have done with my life?

I had dreams of being a farmer but I had too many allergies, a businessman/accountant, an NHL hockey player or CFL football player. However, I found my dream by staying in school and becoming a Physical Education teacher, coach and administrator of sports and athletics. This was all so much different than I had envisioned.  As they say “I was a jack of all trades and a master of none” –I was interested and good at many different sports but not an expert in anything but loved my career.

3. How did I get here?

Not by myself—No one gets anywhere by themselves. I needed a lot of help! With the support, encouragement and influence of my parents, my family, my peer group, my friends, colleagues and my mentors, I am now receiving this award.

Having great parents, Norma and John, who stressed staying in school, developing a strong work ethic, and participating in community and sports activities focused me in my early years in Wetaskiwin.  Speaking of focus; when a conflict between my paper route and hockey occurred, mother would send me to hockey and mom, my sister and brothers would deliver the papers.  A valuable lesson in life for everyone!  To this day I don’t understand what they were grumbling about!

My peer group, friends and colleagues; Ron Emmerling, Bill Milnthorp, Bill Mojelski, Bill Elliot, Frank Lockhart, Jerry Green, Val Fonteyne, Harold Maciborski, Larry Wilson, Kevin Gibson, Bill Pocock, Larry Lee,  Don Loov and many others too numerous to mention helped me a lot.

I also had great mentors from the community in Norm Brown, Al Arner, Ralph Pocock, Art Smith, Cec Colwell and Len Roberts.

Many of these people are already in the Sports Hall of Fame and I am proud to be there with them.

4. Why did I get here?

For me Wetaskiwin was a perfect community to grow up in, coach and teach in, raise a family and play competitive sports with my friends. It became the place I spent most of my life.

Returning to Wetaskiwin in 1967, other than a new arena in 1961 and a high school gym in 1966, I noticed not much had changed.  The population was increasing so more new facilities and programs were needed. 

The next 15 years the Wetaskiwin community through  groups such as the Recreation Board, Service clubs, City Council and sports organizations worked together to develop many new facilities and programs. These facilities and programs became an important part of the Wetaskiwin community.  It was a pleasure to work with these groups and members of Minor Hockey and Minor Ball as well as many other citizens. By all of us working together, Wetaskiwin became the community I remembered and was always proud to call home.

5. What have I learned?

I learned the value of competition and participation; I also learned how the teaching and coaching of young people was always so enjoyable and worthwhile. Speaking of enjoyable, my 10 years in the Boy Scouts taught me the value of outdoor education programs. This led to my colleagues and me developing an outdoor education program that included camping, canoeing, downhill and X-country skiing, hiking, rock climbing, outdoor cooking, and CPR. What fun that was!

Athletes and students were my greatest source of satisfaction and especially the Sabres Football, Track and Field and Badminton teams.

6. What are my beliefs?

To this day I believe that young people should be exposed to our traditional team sports, individual sports and lifelong sports activities. Some examples are curling, golf, badminton, hockey, football, basketball and tennis. Participation in these activities combined with aerobics, strength and muscular endurance programs will promote a healthy, active and satisfying life. If my dad, John the businessman, was giving this speech, he would say it this way: “A small daily investment in fitness will result in huge dividends and large capital gains in life span.”

I believe that it is important to share your talents, your time and your enthusiasm to help yourself and others accomplish individual, team and community goals. All of us can succeed with the right attitude and work ethic. I recognize that in myself and the family with whose support I have been especially blessed…two wonderful wives, a daughter, two stepsons, six grandchildren, two brothers and a sister. Such an attitude and work ethic is also present in the Wetaskiwin community. In closing, if someone was to ask me what I liked best about Wetaskiwin and why I received this award, I would say there were 3 things;   Number one, the people, Number 2, the people and Number 3 the people.

Thanks to all for your friendships, support, guidance and help throughout the years and for this wonderful honor that I am receiving tonight.

Read the opening comments made by Kristi Paukstate when introducing Ross MacEachern.

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