Calvin Napope will compete at the North American #Indigenous Games in Toronto. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports) Standing in an open field of uncut grass, Calvin Napope points to the football uprights.
"See those poles over there?" he said. "I used to think of those poles for high jump. I’d visualize jumping over the middle post."
He’s never shied away from dreaming big. And Napope will never forget the first time he soared over a high jump bar. It was as if he was flying. He was free.
"I was in Grade 6. It was during a school track meet. I jumped 1.55 metres. I had never high jumped like that before."
Napope was just 10 years old and hadn’t really considered himself an athlete until that point.
"I remember people saying just do it again," Napope said.
"I did it and I was thinking wow. This is awesome. My confidence level was high."
His friend was so impressed, he told Napope they were going to train every single day in their small Saskatchewan village.
"We would jog around St. Louis at least two times a day. Then we would go over here and do ab workouts. We thought that was a rookie kind of thing," Napope said laughing.
Since that time, that’s what sports have brought Napope; confidence, laughter, friendship and comfort. Battling through heartache and adversity
Napope was born prematurely in a Saskatoon hospital. His mom, Crystal moved to Prince Albert when he was young. He was the first child she gave birth to. Napope says he knew she wanted to be a good provider but too many "bad" things got in the way of that.
Crystal would have two more boys, Brayden and Cairon, while living in Prince Albert. According to Calvin she kept making bad choices.
The three boys have been living in a foster home for years now. That’s how they ended up in St. Louis. Calvin Napope lives in a foster home in St. Louis, Saskatchewan. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports) In many respects, Calvin has had to be a father figure for Brayden and Cairon. But for as strong as he has to be for everyone else, not having a relationship with his mom somewhat haunts him to this day.
"I think last year I might have seen her four times. I don’t know what my mom is trying to do. She’s in jail right now. I don’t know why she went to jail," Napope said.
He fights back tears as he explains all of the times he would invite her to his sporting events hoping she would come.
"And she’d say I’ll make, I’ll make. And she wouldn’t make it. It hurts me."Napope even wrote a letter to his mom once, trying to express to her how much he wanted her to be a part of his life."I don’t really say this to a lot of people but mom I love you so much. I’m glad you’re my mother and my birth giver," he wrote.He wanted to believe she could turn her life around after she had a near death experience with a police officer. High on crystal meth in Jan. 2015, Crystal was face-to-face with an officer screaming for him to shoot her. That officer didn’t and for a while after that she was making an effort to turn her life around. But her addiction and poor choices have caught up to her again, says Calvin."It hurts. That hurts so much. I don’t know what to do with her anymore. I just want to box her out in my life," Napope said. Search for family This past school year Napope made the decision to leave his brothers and […]
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