Once in a while a story comes along that transcends sport. One that is bigger than the game. Our second episode of Homegrown features Max Poulin whose story does just that. It is not one of home run records, dynasties or major league debuts but one of tragedy and the journey to overcome.
Growing up I can recall trying to fill the shoes of three people when the neighbourhood crew got together. If we were playing hockey or street hockey you would try to be the first kid on the block to call dibs on being Teemu Selanne. If you were tossing the pigskin then you tried to embody the charismatic Milt Stegall and if you were out on the diamond you always tried to be the first to sneak into shortstop to be Max Poulin.
Back in May I read a story written by Gary Lawless in the Winnipeg Free Press. The story was a feature about Max Poulin. One that I never would have suspected.
The story really took me back. Max Poulin’s signature on field style, consisting of black eye grease and knee high socks, his abundance of talent and the fact that he ensured that just about every kid in attendance got an autograph after the game – made him a fan favourite. From afar it seemed that Max had it all together. It wasn’t until stepping away from the game, after 8 seasons with the Goldeyes, that Max was forced to come face to face with his past. A past that included sexual abuse; a daunting and overwhelming task to overcome. One that would ultimately lead to depression and an attempt to take his own life.
I would like to express my gratitude to Max Poulin for sharing openly his story with three strangers and for allowing us the opportunity. As well as Beyond Borders for their work to advance the rights of children everywhere to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation and the Winnipeg Goldeyes organization for allowing us access to the Shaw Park. And last but not least Cam and Eric at Nice!Productions. These are the stories that I get excited to share. Not because of the pain and challenges but because they have the power to inspire change.
I encourage you to check out beyondborders.org and stay up to date with the many joint events the organization and Max Poulin will be putting on in the city .