HE HAD A TITLE SHOT

Big Sandy's Brock Proulx overcame not one, but two injuries this year to get back on the track, and yet, it still wasn't mean to be

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Big Sandy senior Brock Proulx was a contender for a Class C state championship in the shot put this spring, and he had to overcome injuries in both football and basketball to get there. Yet, COVID-19 dashed his hopes of realizing that dream, but with what his Pioneers accomplished in the fall and winter, Proulx will still have lasting memories from his senior year in sports.

Comebacks are always a great story in the world of sports. The most notable and often recognized comebacks come from teams that defy the odds placed before them, but what often can be overlooked is the comebacks that individual athletes have. What better feeling is there than watching a player climb his way back to game, where they leave a lasting impression?

When it comes to the Hi-Line, Big Sandy's own Brock Proulx has put his name in the books as an athlete that never quit, no matter how hard the challenges placed before him were. The senior may not have been in the record books in his last year with the Pioneers, but there is no doubt he will be a player to remember.

Of course, for a comeback to happen, an athlete has to hit a low point. In Proulx's case, his first block in the path came from a rough injury during the 2019 fall football season. Going down as a senior is always difficult, especially when the Pioneers were making yet another playoff run.

Proulx remembers how difficult being injured to start off his senior season was, but he had faith that his team would still keep on trucking.

"That was tough," Proulx said. "But at the same time, it sounds kind of horrible, but I kind of enjoy basketball and track way more, so I knew our team was still well off in the end. They were able to do what they needed to do. I wasn't horribly worried. I was upset, obviously, but I knew we'd be able to set it off."


That Big Sandy team would make a push to the Class C 8-Man semifinals once again, with Proulx cheering on his teammates all the way. Despite the injury keeping Proulx off the field, he had hopes that he would be back in action when the time came. But, Proulx had some more trials to go through as the winter season approached and he took to the court for the Pioneers boys basketball team.

Proulx suffered an injury once more, putting a damper on his work on the hardwood. Once again, another unfortunate event was placed in Proulx's path, but like before, he had an iron will to overcome it. Of course, it would take time, but in the end, it only made Proulx stronger and smarter, giving Big Sandy a special boost. Proulx overcame another obstacle comeback, doing his best to make the most of his basketball season.

"It was challenging because I had a tear in my MCL, so I was having a really hard time with a lot of the improvements," Proulx said. "Right as I was starting to feel good, I was out with a broken foot. It was rough, but I knew I have great friends on that team and my younger brother was there, so it was hard to watch but at the same time it was really enjoyable because I got to see a different side of it and was able to understand the game better."


Proulx was a part of the Big Sandy team that pushed their way to the Northern C Divisional Tournament after battling through the tough District 9C Tournament in the Havre High Gymnasium. After beating Box Elder in the opening game of the tournament, the Pioneers fell to Chinook in the semifinals, but Big Sandy was not done just yet. Proulx watched and gave his best effort to help drive the Pioneers to the 9C consolation game. Proulx kept up his hard work and alongside his team, he had a moment to remember, as Big Sandy was going to the Northern C Divisionals.

"Our goal was to get that far because we hadn't been there since like 2010," Proulx said. "That was our big thing we were looking to do. With my injury, I was really struggling with that. I remember my coach looking at me for our second to last game of the tournament and said if I wanted to play just suit up because this could be your last game. I played about 20 minutes and we got the overtime win to go to divisionals, so that was kind of a rush because we all knew that that was our goal."

And it didin't stop there, as Proulx helped put in work to put up a good run at divisionals, as well as making some great moments as a member of the "Cardiac Pioneers" in the Four Seasons Arena, where Big Sandy came back against Centerville, Heart Butte and 9C rival Chinook, who had handed them a loss before.


"Getting into divisionals, we came out and knew when we played, we had a really good chance," Proulx continued. "Against Centerville, we got out there and came back from 12 points in the fourth quarter, which was really exciting. We had a really challenging game against the Heart Butte Warriors. They're a tough team and always have been, but then we came back from 14 points to win and pulled it back together. I'm just really grateful to be a part of something that a lot of people were watching. We had everyone in the 9C rooting for us because they knew we'd been through some tough stuff, so to make it as far as we did was really incredible."

Big Sandy's season would end at divisionals after losing a tough loss to Fort Benton in the chipper and a challenge game to the Belt Huskies, but Proulx still had more plans after putting forward great work on the court, as we was itching to go far for the Pioneers in the spring season as part of the track and field team.

But, that would all change when the Montana High School Association officially canceled the spring season, shattering the hopes and dreams of many athletes across Montana. The cancellation hit hard for Proulx, as well, as he was poised to be a state contender in the shot put event this year. Alas, COVID-19 had other plans, claiming the spring sports season and blocking Proulx's path.

It is painful to see the season go and Proulx knows that he had a lot on his agenda for the track and field season.

"My first and foremost goal was a state championship," Proulx said. "I was in line for that. I would like to do track in college someday, but we're not quite there yet. My goals were to break a school record, as I was about a foot off from doing so, so not being able to get a crack at that was tough, but I also miss the social aspect of track."

On top of that, Proulx understands that the cancellation is tough for everybody, no matter how far they are into their high school careers.

"I think it's hard for everybody, regardless of years," Proulx said. "I know it's hard for seniors especially, but I think everybody not getting that chance is hard. About 400 kids run across the state at one time and it gets people social with one another. That's been a really big part of it for me. There's nothing we can really do about it though at this point."

The spring season may have put an unavoidable obstacle in Proulx's way, but that does not stop the fact that the Big Sandy standout had quite the comeback year. At the end of the day, not many can say that they have overcome trials like Proulx has. With all that stood in his path, Proulx still gave it everything he had to make his team and coaches proud, on both the field and the hardwood.

Looking back on his high school career and his senior year, Proulx has learned some important things that will be at his side forever.

"First and foremost, it's teamwork," Proulx said. "We've had teams that could be more so that we had these all-stars that we were supposed to be good because this player was supposed to be good, but things like that don't matter when we all work together under a good coach and when we all do our part, we find more success. It was about what we could do as a team. My basketball coach's (Thomas Dilworth's most famous saying was that the most important part of basketball is figuring out what you can do for your team. That was huge. Plus hard work. That's what every sport across every nation is about. If you work hard you get the results you want."

Now, Proulx has his future ahead of him, where he looks to further his education, and possibly his athletic career, at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.

Havre Daily News/Colin ThompsonColin Thompson

Big Sandy senior Brock Proulx was a contender for a Class C state championship in the shot put this spring, and he had to overcome injuries in both football and basketball to get there. Yet, COVID-19 dashed his hopes of realizing that dream, but with what his Pioneers accomplished in the fall and winter, Proulx will still have lasting memories from his senior year in sports.

 

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