by Talitha Watkinson
Members of Sylvan Lake Lions showed their support for an opposing player and his teams stand against bullying during their visit to McMahon Stadium on the weekend.
When invited by the Innisfail Cyclones to wear orange in recognition of a terrible event in their community that affected one of their players they wholeheartedly participated.
Talitha Watkinson, president of Innisfail Minor Football Association wrote this about the event and the Lions.
“Early on in the season, right before the first game, one of the Cyclones’ players was attacked by a gang of seven youths, beaten severely and left with a terrible head wound. He was also unable to play what would have been his first football game ever. Aiden is 14 and was just introduced to football this summer by members of the football team.
“One bright spot however, is that Aiden’s team has rallied behind him. After practise, one of the peewee players asked if both teams could show Aiden some support and stand up against bullying. We decided to go with Aiden’s favourite color, which is orange.
“We invited the visiting team to participate as well, and Sylvan Lake Lions stepped up in a way we never expected. All 32 Sylvan players donned an orange strip on their helmets, Sylvan coaches and trainers wore orange arm bands on the field, and their parents and spectators showed up with orange arm bands, scarves, and of course the orange ribbons.
“What happened that day in August shook this entire community. We were left feeling shocked, bewildered, helpless and scared. But we are not helpless. We all have the power to stand up and be a voice. Silence is no longer an acceptable response to bullying.”