By Shari Morgoch
Yesterday we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Mississauga Canoe Club in fine style. I was honoured and humbled to have been presented with a Life Membership. It was a wonderful surprise and most unlike me, as I accepted this award, words failed me. So, by way of proper thanks, I am posting here, what I would have liked to tell you all at the time.
In the spring of 1994, my ever-adventurous daughter, Melissa, tried out the Elementary War Canoe race for the first time (yes, back then it WAS War Canoe!). When the day was done, she decided to join the canoe club. I asked her if she didn’t want to see if her friends were joining first. She said, “No, I’ll make new friends”. It all started with her. Little did I realize the significance of this remarkably simple idea.
So, she joined – and she made new friends. Her brother, Dana, tagged along, and a year later, he joined and he made new friends. And Bob and I tagged along, carrying coolers and lawn chairs, and we made new friends. Before you know it, this club became more than something we did. For all of us it, in large part, defined who we were. The friends we all made became the fabric and family of not only our summers but all year through. And 24 years later, one way or another, paddling still informs some aspect of each of our lives.
Now, we honour our champions and club heroes in many ways. They inspire not only our young paddlers but all of us, and we are so happy to call them our own. But, I am so proud to accept this award in honour of the every day champions that have made this club a family and home for so many of us in much less obvious ways.
#Repost @canoekayakcan ・・・ You’ve seen this photo in on one of our #PaddlesUP posts 👆🏼 #ThrowbackThursday to the 1978 Ladies Senior War Canoe of @mississaugacanoeclub winning 🥇 with Captain Kevin McMillan at the Canadian Championships 1978 #CCA 🇨🇦🙌🏼 // can you recognize where this happened? 🤔 . . . Photo: Mississauga’s award winning sports photographer Fred Loek / Kim Crumpton #wepaddle #nouspagayons #paddlesup #CKCPaddlesUp #notrenature #whoweare #ckc #womenscanoe #womencan #canoekayak #warcanoe #togethertotokyo
For those paddlers whose goal wasn’t the world stage, they still embraced the cold, the aches and the ups and downs for the sake of friendship, club pride and the opportunity to do something a little bit better every day. They are the soul of the club and have become champions at life. They took all the lessons their coaches instilled out into the real world, to become doctors, engineers, teachers, entrepreneurs, parents and valuable citizens in all walks of life.
For those parents who have spent countless hours doing the humble jobs that keep our club running, and those who do the bigger job of running the club. We start out doing it “for the kids” then one day you realize that this is your club too. You may not be on the start line, in a boat, but your Missy Pride is just as strong, and you aren’t doing this “for the kids” anymore, but with your kids, your friends and your team. We have had the supreme joy of actually sharing a world with our children. I know of no other venue where so many generations have had so much fun together!
Great capture by Ronald Poisson from our MCC Home Regatta. World Champion athlete @k.vincent_ finished a paddle on home turf with 2 of our youth racing program athletes looking on. 💥
Most of all, you discover that when life’s big events come and go, woven through their fabric are all those once new friends who are now old and dear friends.
This night, as we celebrated 60 years of history, in this room, among the Olympians and history makers were also the every day champions. They all have stories and were all here to reconnect and enjoy this great family reunion that is Missy.
It is for this reason that this Life Membership is so very special to me. Thank you to Melissa Gillard and Dana Morgoch for making wonderful memories together for all these years. You have no idea how much I learned and grew because of you.
And Thank You, Missy.