Prairie people are a resilient breed.
Painting groups with a broad brush can be dangerous, but the evidence of Saskatchewanians’ toughness is all around us.
We choose to live here, which is really the only evidence you need of the strength within every one of us.
So much of our provincial identity is tied to agriculture, hockey and football that the rest of the country forgets we have any more to offer.
In addition to being tough, Saskatchewanians are also diverse.
During the Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL playoff run that culminated in the Grey Cup victory at home, it was difficult to consider there were people in this province who didn’t share Rider Nation’s enthusiasm. But there were, and that’s perfectly fine.
The same factions are created every year with National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs, because even though Saskatchewan, per capita, has the highest rate of producing professional hockey players in the world, there are still people who don’t care about hockey.
On Tuesday, three Saskatchewanians were announced as members of the Canadian Olympic men’s hockey team.
Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Marleau will represent our rectangular province at Sochi, but many other Saskatchewanian players were passed over.
Those not selected will continue to work hard. In four years, maybe they will get to represent Canada at the Olympics.
But Saskatchewan athletes are not about individual achievement. And not all of Saskatchewan is about sports.
Regardless of what part we come from, we are imbedded with the determination and selflessness that this province was built on.
Even city-boys like myself were exposed to farming and small town life enough to understand there is no substitute for hard work.
In Saskatchewan, nothing falls in to your lap. If you wait for something to come to you, you’ll be frozen by the time it’s even close.
We seize our opportunities and help our neighbours.
Moose Jaw is the most generous community I’ve ever been a part of.
The people support each other in times of need. They donate time and money whenever they can.
I believe that neighbourly feeling is bigger than Moose Jaw.
Hopefully that feeling does expand past the Friendly City, because there are people suffering throughout this province who need that support.
Saskatoon’s first homicide victim of 2014 was five-year-old Jonathan Vetter. His mother, 35-year-old Kellie Johnson, faces charges of first degree murder.
As family, friends and members of the community struggle to understand how that’s possible, they will need people to lean on.
In the face of senseless suffering, all we can do is keep going together.
That’s what Saskatchewanians do best. Better than farming, playing hockey or cheering for the Roughriders, we are capable of summoning a collective strength we didn’t know we had.
Our greatest strength is each other.
Follow Austin on Twitter @theaustinx.