Don’t you know I’m a winner now

Trent Ernst, Editor

Last week was the winter carnival here in Tumbler Ridge.

You know, that thing that the District hosts annually in mid-January because there’s nothing ever to do in Tumbler Ridge in mid-January?

I’m asking, because it seems like most of you forgot about it.

This year’s winter carnival was less well attended, despite an uptick in the town’s population this year over the last couple of years.

Which actually worked out well for myself and the handful of people who participated regularly.

The Tobox’n that I helped my youngest daughter build took first place in her age category. Not for design (it was, after all, little more than two boxes taped together and painted white), but for speed. Although to say she won a prize isn’t all that big a deal; there were so few entries that nearly every kid won something.

And that’s the point. There wasn’t a lot of people out at Winter Carnival this year.

It’s a common refrain in Tumbler Ridge. “There’s nothing to do in Tumbler Ridge.” “Look, we planned you a party!” “Meh.” But it seems to be getting worse. Halloween bonfire? Not as many people as last year. Christmas Tree light-up? Disappointing crowds.

Volunteer groups are struggling because many of the people who pitched in before have left town, and haven’t been replaced by anyone new.

Is it just the wave of the future, is it because people don’t know what’s happening, or is it just apathy?

On Sunday, at the same time as the Tobox’n Race, there were supposed to be a number of other activities.

There was supposed to be a broomball tournament, but there wasn’t enough interest from the town, and it was canceled. Success by 6 did some snow crafts for the kids, but only a handful of kids showed up.

There was Wall Scrabble at the library and a bouncy castle and a coffee house with free food and a pancake breakfast on Saturday, and yet it seemed like there were very few people there.

These aren’t hard and fast numbers, just a general observation from looking at the crowds.

But I’m not going to complain about the lack of people, because I, or at least, the family, cleaned up.

I tied for first in the adult category at the Tumbler Ridge Library’s Wall Scrabble (third year out of four, for anyone who is keeping track…), and won a copy of the game Tummple, which is sort of like reverse Jenga.

The House of Cards the family (read: mom) built won first place in that contest. The edible castle my youngest built took second. She also won the dance-off competition at the Black Light Dance.

And just by showing up to the Tobox’n Races, I was given a trio of facility passes to the recreation centre, so when winter is starting to get me down next month (or the month after that, or the month after that, or …), I can go to the pool or to the gym for free. They were just walking around, handing out free passes.

I even got up and sang a few songs at karaoke night. I’m not a singer, and I’ve never done karaoke before in my life, but it seemed the right thing to do. Besides, there was only ten people there, who cares if I was off the beat and out of tune?

I guess that, once again, the town is changing. Maybe it’s because the new mines are opening. Maybe it’s still people coming in because of cheap rent, but it seems there is a majority of people who reside here and maybe work here, but don’t really live here. People who don’t connect. Don’t participate. People who are just here to survive.

And that’s sad, because life is about more than just surviving, it’s about thriving. It’s about blooming where you are, and not just waiting until you get to where you want to be. Because if you always live your life waiting for that future, you’ll wind up missing the now.