The rockslides and wildfire evacuations created difficult times for many, but one local 12 year old girl was able to keep her soccer dreams alive through the generous support of local adults.
Tatum Hardman, a local Osoyoos 12 year old soccer player, typically trains in Kelowna twice a week with the Okanagan FC (OFC) U14 girls.
“Local conditions between home and her training pitch have been our enemy recently, (too smoky to play, highway closed, highway closed due to fire...too much smoke to play again etc. etc.)” her father Sean Hardman explained.
Tatum was pretty disappointed when she wasn't able to play and only had homework assignments from her coach until they were contacted by David Paisley from Osoyoos. He reached out and invited her to join their twice weekly games that adults from around town play. The games are open invitation and men and women are welcomed.
Sean said that Tatum, being a small statured 12 year old was somewhat timid at first, but after a few games behind her she is looking great and definitely not out of place.
“The pitch is a solid mix of young and older, with varied skill levels. Her confidence is way up high again, she is having the time of her life, high-fives from all of the guys and gals...amazing. What a love for the beautiful game,” her father commented.
“Funny how these things can happen, just one little reach out can make a big difference to one little girl looking for a game, a challenge. Thanks to David, and all the guys and girls from the Osoyoos, Tuesday and Thursday night games. These are memories that stick with you when you're an aspiring soccer star,” Sean continued.
Now that the highway has recently reopened, they will join her normal training in Kelowna but they will continue to keep this as an option Sean explained. “She truly enjoys the camaraderie, she has lost her apprehension and she is now starting to shine out there, even last week in the pissing rain!”