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Sports in Outlook can get kids out of their shell

Amateur sports in Outlook are thriving due to the community formed.

OUTLOOK - Amateur sport programs in any given community can provide a release for kids of all ages.

It really doesn't matter if it's hockey, baseball, softball; anything with a dedicated team aspect can give young athletes a chance to excel at both the sport and life.

Jordan Rolleston, who's been on the board with Outlook Amateur Sports for a few years and became President last June, knows this for a fact. With his own kids involved in activities such as hockey and gymnastics, he sees the changes that sport can have on kids who might need that certain avenue to discover who they are or what they're capable of accomplishing.

"The team aspect is huge," said Jordan, speaking with The Outlook. "My son really likes the team mates and learning the game; having fun while learning all about the game. I've got two other girls who are involved in sports, too. My middle daughter is involved in gymnastics, as well as volleyball at the elementary school. My youngest daughter, who's 5, she's doing gymnastics and played ball last year. I think she's going to be involved in soccer this year, and she loves skating, too. I think the team aspect is what makes you feel like you're a part of the team, and just playing the game and being competitive."

Rolleston himself comes from a sports-heavy background, having lived and grown up in a small town.

"I played a little bit of everything," he said. "I grew up in Dinsmore, so not too far away. A small town like that, you kind of have to play everything just so there's a team. Hockey, baseball, golf, and a lot of school sports, too; volleyball, basketball, badminton. I also played hockey, and being a part of a team and competing is what I liked. I just like the competitive side of hockey. Winning together as a team is always about as fun as it gets for me. Being a part of a group of kids who are striving towards the same goal is awesome. I always prefer the team sports over individual because there's just something special about being together as a team. If you have a good group of players, it can be about as fun as anything."

The enrolment numbers for Outlook Amateur Sports are keeping a steady pace and ticking upward, with baseball and softball seeing some notable popularity.

"For hockey, the numbers have gone up a little bit the last couple of years," said Jordan. "Not by a lot, but by enough. This year is the first since I've been on the board where we have a full slate of teams; U-7 all the way to U-18. In baseball and softball, those have grown a lot over the last two or three years. Softball, specifically. When I started, we didn't have a softball program in Outlook, and over the last few years, we developed the program and it's really taken off and continued to grow. Baseball too; it's grown by probably double in seven or eight years."

Being a parent and watching your child play sports in your home community is something of a connection that all parents share together; watching the kids come together and grow up while experiencing things like wins and losses.

"I like everything about it," said Rolleston. "Seeing them learn how to be a part of a team and developing both as a player and as a person and gaining those interpersonal skills, those are key. Learning to listen to your coach, as well. It always seems to be a pretty diverse group of kids and there's a lot of learning that's done; life skills, especially."

Rolleston believes that joining a team can help kids break out of their proverbial shells and discover who they want to be as both players and people.

"I'd say that's probably a true statement," he said. "I've seen a lot of kids who are pretty quiet, especially when the parents or the coach is around, but when they get in a room with the rest of the players, they seem a little more outspoken. Being part of that team, they're all striving for the same goal. The older players kind of lead and the younger players follow."

Of course, it can also be the community where all of these activities are enjoyed that plays a big part in their overall success. As a central hub of activity bringing kids and their families over from surrounding communities, Jordan is happy to see that the town of Outlook is capable of offering more to kids spanning all ages in a variety of sports and activities.

"I think there are almost endless options to participate in some form of sport or another," he said. "Everybody's welcome; we never say no to a local kid looking to play a sport. Anybody can register, and anybody who registers will be put on a team. I find that it's fairly inclusive, and there are probably some people who might disagree on that, but there are always naysayers in everything. Outlook's a nice-size town. Coming from a lot smaller town, there were a lot less options than what Outlook has. Hockey, gymnastics, soccer, baseball, taekwondo; I just find that Outlook has a ton of opportunity and there's always something for everyone."