My daughter Shelby is a Highland Dancer and after a lot of fundraising and some parental financing, we arrived safe and sound in Honolulu along with eight other dancers, two teachers, and a slew of parents and siblings. The dancers came well prepared and looking good. Representing Princeton in their new “Princeton Highland Dancers” jackets, the girls stepped off of the plane and into the glorious sunshine eager to compete all out at an international competition.
The Princeton crew did not all arrive at the same time, but rather straggled together over a four day period. They were excited and united. It is hard to put into words the happiness this international trip brought to this group. They flipped pancakes, rolled dough, peeled apples, danced and danced some more to get to Hawaii. They earned their trip. Behind them was a small, but mighty town.
The Legion was there to help, the Brown Bridge Pub, Fortis, Overwaitea, Dr. Barry Cook, the Rotary, and a ton of other groups and individuals. The dancers did not come to Hawaii alone, but with the best of Princeton behind them. This is where it all began and where it would all come together.
While travelling in the U.S., we appreciated our small town support and our small town spirit. Never once did it enter the heads of the girls that they wouldn’t be able to compete at the level of the other dancers. They pointed their toes, bowed and faced showdown after showdown with dignity and grace.
Sure some things frustrated the girls…like the money all being the same colour. Was that a five I just gave him or a twenty…stuff like that? There was no confusion where it counted however. They could dance…oh yes they could dance.
The dancers proudly told their competitors that they were Canadian. They waved flags and yelled for their allies. The parade had them walking arm in arm. These girls were grinning ear to ear Canadian. It is at times like this, when far away that we don’t forget where we came from, but rather revel in it. Small town does not mean small world. It means the village is behind you pushing you to dream big and do big. It means remembering where you are from and being proud of that.
The Aussies and Scottish were good, but so were our Princeton girls. Every girl brought home something and I am not talking about medals and souvenirs. I am talking about the knowledge that they live in a community that wants for their youth with people that want for their youth. There is more, and every dancer saw and did more and it is because of where they came from, not where they are going.