With a passion for the putting green, golfer Ryan Blair’s family community has inspired in him a sense of gratefulness that goes far beyond sport.
Of the Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba, the 13-year-old’s physiotherapist parents and 78-year-old residential school surviving grandmother have helped him to put his young life into perspective.
“I am very lucky to have parents who can afford to let me play golf and other sports and drive me around everywhere,” said Blair who represented his community of Eastman Manitoba at the Manitoba Summer Games. “My gramma tells me how lucky I am because when she grew up on the Fisher River reserve she didn’t have all the things that I have.”
With a dream of being a professional golfer, Blair says the highlight of his young career was going to the legendary Augusta National Golf Course to compete at the Drive Chip Putt.
“The Masters is amazing and I got to putt on the 18th green and hit balls on the range where all the pro’s get to practice,” says Blair who also enjoys playing hockey and basketball. “My whole family got to go with me and my gramma and grampa even came… It was really fun to have everyone come see me.”
Building on his family and cultural legacy of overcoming obstacles, Blair continues to work diligently with his coach in hopes that his pursuits on the golf course will inspire others to go after their dreams.
“I think it’s important for all indigenous people to share their stories,” Blair said. “My gramma sometimes tells us stories of being at residential school and getting in trouble for speaking Cree…I like telling people I went to the Masters [because] maybe that might inspire someone to take up golf.”