MY name is Rhonda Gardner, and I'm not hiding under any pseudonym. Daimon (a child profiled in Saturday's feature on elite hockey) is my nephew. I thank those who have given encouragement and their positive comments to this article. To the naysayers, I thank you as well. Here is a little story for you.
My brother and his wife have given selflessly, have made plenty of sacrifices and have struggled to provide and open several opportunities, both academically and athletically, for all four of their children. At the tender age of nine, Daimon's talent and skill were noticed through the hockey circuit. This generated the interest of this newspaper, so they contacted his father, Vince.
Foremost, Daimon's academic achievements are off the charts. Whatever he does, he excels in it. Their three talented daughters, ages 13, 15, and 18, also play girls' hockey on the Warroad High School team.
The eldest daughter, through high academics and hockey talent, has earned a full scholarship to the University of North Dakota. Their 15-year-old is already receiving invites from some of the top academic schools in the U.S. because of her high academics and, yes, her hockey talent. Their 13-year-old, who is playing her first year of high school hockey, is already making a name for herself on the hockey charts while maintaining a high grade point average.
All four kids, while on their "down time," are involved in baseball, soccer, basketball. Daimon is one up on them; he also plays football.
All four kids are busy. However, this is by their own choice. They choose to participate as they enjoy it; if they didn't, they wouldn't be in it.
Any organized sport teaches a child self-esteem, adversity, humility, integrity, perseverance, respect and positive attitude -- the list goes on.
With love, encouragement and sacrifice, my brother and his wife have given their all to provide these opportunities. Wouldn't any of you naysayers do the same for your children?
-- Rhonda Gardner,