Spring has finally sprung and the weather here in Alberta is absolutely gorgeous. In the Town of Ponoka most of the snow is gone and the grass is getting greener by the second. Although there are rumours that there may be more snow on the way let’s cross our fingers and hope we have had the worst of it for this winter. Nothing can be worse than the conditions in Eastern Canada, currently where the snow banks are well over your head and the snow hasn’t stopped.
Spring also brings March Madness for some avid sports fans. The NCAA Division I basketball finals captivate many sports fans. The tournament stretches over four weekends with 65 teams competing and culminates with the championship on April 7 in San Antonio, Texas. Daytime television is turned into a sports lover’s heaven and the evening news is filled with highlights.
However, no matter how much hype the tournament gains the most exciting part of March for some is the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s basketball championship. Canadian sports seem to be overshadowed by American sports more often then they should be. Some of the most exciting basketball was held during the CIS championship March 14 to 16. The University of Alberta Golden Bears were one of the west representatives in the tournament and lost a close fought battle, 66-57 to the five-time defending champions the Carleton University Ravens. In a heartbreaking loss the Ravens lost in the semi-finals in double overtime to the Acadia Axemen. After a great reign on top, the new CIS champions are the Brock Badgers after defeating the Axemen.
Although, as a Carleton alum I was a little disappointed after traveling to watch the tournament that they lost. They played with their hearts and it was a lot of fun.
The tournament was great but the most stunning facts were how many people attended the event in Ottawa to watch university athletics. Over the three day tournament more than 80,000 people attended and The Score broadcasted the weekend games with an average audience of 77,000 people per game.
With these big tournaments the attention turns to the future of sports on a national level and hopefully at local events the attendance will improve in the future. The high school basketball season recently finished with the Ponoka Composite High School team doing very well as well as the other local hoops teams.
As NHL playoffs quickly approach there is one Ponoka minor hockey team who is off to the provincial championships. The Ponoka Bantam A Moose’s efforts should be congratulated as well as the hard work and dedication of the parents driving the young superstars to practice each week.
Also, the Ponoka Midget hockey team is currently 1-1 in their playoff finals against Lacombe. The final game is March 25, watch next week’s paper for full results on both teams as they head into their final big games.
Team sports are very important to young and old athletes. The values that youngsters learn when playing are life long lessons that they will carry on with them forever. Ponoka has many great sports programs for children. Even though school sports are winding down there are many spring and summer sports for children to get involved in such as soccer, baseball and swimming just to name a few. Along with the many great team sports one of the best parts about the arrival of spring is getting out the golf clubs and heading out to two great local golf courses. Being active is vital for everyone to stay healthy; especially with the great spring weather it is a perfect opportunity to get out for a walk and enjoy all that Ponoka has to offer.