GORE BAY—There wasn’t a dry eye among spectators and organizers on hand for the Charles C. McLean Public School track and field championship held May 30, as a group of student athletes provided the ultimate example of what sportsmanship is all about.
“I don’t know if these young boys understand how important this was, or what they have did,” stated Amanda Hore. “It was truly amazing. My son Maxim (Bell) has cerebral palsy and started doing the shortest race a few years ago at the track day. It’s the only event he can do. This year he was racing (walking) the 100-metre race.”
“A group of boys who were to be in the same race as Maxim come up with a plan all on their own, deciding to walk the race just behind Maxim so that he could get his first ever ribbon,” said Ms. Hore. “Jaci (Olson Ewart) came up with the plan and got his friends on board.” The other students who participated included Jayden Demero, Jack Hartin and Ronan Bentley.
Jaci Olson Ewart, who is 11 years old and in Grade 6 at C.C. McLean, told The Expositor, “a few minutes before the race I came up with the plan to hold back and let Maxim win the race. After that I went to ask my friends to help me, and I asked his mother Amanda if it was okay.”
“We insisted because it was only fair, and we felt it was right that Maxim got to have this moment,” said Jaci. “I decided to do this because Maxim has a disability, and it would be very difficult for him to complete in the longer races.” He explained he had talked to his other classmates and tried to get everybody on board. “I asked Amanda if it was okay. Amanda also told me that we didn’t have to do this,” he said, noting, “I would say that she was surprised with our plans.”
“We are very proud of Jaci,” stated his father, Jonas. “I was working so I couldn’t attend the track and field meet but his aunt texted me what had taken place,” he told The Expositor.
“This was the first track and field ribbon that Maxim has ever had,” said Ms. Hore. “I know these boys did it out of the goodness of their heart and were expecting no recognition for it, but they deserve to be recognized. These are the things that still give us all hope and show us there are good people out there. On social media there have been hundreds of likes and comments for this day,” said Ms. Hore. “That moment made the day and gave us an everlasting memory. They are only 11 and 12 years old. This is a show of community and peers coming together in the best way. There was not a dry eye in the crowd!”
“Maxim crossed the finish line receiving third place,” stated Ms. Hore. “He was happy to just be out doing the race and he cannot express through words how he was feeling, but I know seeing his peers walking beside him and the crowds cheering made that race extra special for him.”
“Maxim’s educational assistant is Apryl Mayer Wright, who always walks the race with him,” said Ms. Hore.
“It is not just Gore Bay citizens who are proud of these boys, people from all over Manitoulin and off-Island have seen the post on Facebook and are showing their love,” added Ms. Hore.