Emerick Ravier is in his first season with the Brandon University Bobcats. (COLIN CORNEAU/THE BRANDON SUN)
Emerick Ravier has always wanted to help people in less-fortunate countries. He got that chance in 2010, even though he wasn’t expecting it.
Now in his first season with the Brandon University Bobcats men’s basketball team, Ravier went to visit some relatives in Haiti in January of 2010 with his mother. While driving away from the airport in Port-au-Prince, Ravier saw a cement truck shake quite violently and a large crack in the ground, but didn’t immediately realize the magnitude of what he was seeing in the island nation where his parents grew up.
He soon came to learn that a major earthquake had struck, killing tens of thousands of people, and he was unable to communicate to his family and friends in Canada that he was safe. While there, he decided to follow his mother’s lead to help the people of Haiti, and learned a lot while doing it.
"I was able to help out," said Ravier, who was born in France and moved to Canada when he was 11. "I was able to see the culture. I was able to meet my background and history, because that’s where my mom and dad are from. It just made me realize that at any time anything can happen and the thing about it is my mom is someone who is always willing to help, especially for our family in Haiti. Because of that happening, I realized there’s a situation where you just need to help."
Ravier planned to stay in Haiti for two weeks, but stayed for 21 days to help people and learn about his family history. He said helping people came naturally to him from his mother’s influence, but helping the less fortunate in Third World countries wasn’t exactly his goal in life. However, that changed when he became friends with a person who takes time off from her job every two years to do just that. After his experiences in Haiti, Ravier would like to do more and has set that as a goal after he completes school, begins a career and sets himself up financially to help others.
Ravier, who led the Bobcats with 31 points in their 82-75 Canada West season-opening win over the Calgary Dinos Saturday night, is using basketball as a way to achieve his goal. While he enjoys playing the sport, he knows it will also help him accomplish his ultimate goal.
"Basketball is a motivation," said Ravier. "It’s something I love to do, but it’s also motivation for a scholarship, which helps a lot, and I figure that after my career is done, maybe I can save up a little bit of money and then I’ll be able to help."
Ravier, who red-shirted with the Ottawa Gee-Gees last season after playing three seasons at La Cite Collegiate in Ottawa, came to Brandon to study sociology and geography and have the opportunity to play basketball, earning a spot in the starting lineup at the guard position.
So far, he’s enjoying his time in Brandon, and with the Bobcats, even though the move has taken him away from his family.
"Brandon’s been great," said Ravier. "I pretty much moved from Ottawa and I’m by myself here. I stay in contact with my family and everything, but like I said, I have great roommates and I’m not really down on myself. We all come together. We all work hard and it’s a great thing. It helps with everything.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 7, 2011