Those were the words American cross-country ski star Jessie Diggins wrote on a poster she sent to Corner Brook’s Charlotte Wareham — an eight-year-old avid nordic skier at Blow Me Down Trails.
“It’s really encouraging,” Charlotte said of the kind words written by an athlete who has become one of her role models.
Charlotte is a big fan of the talented skier because she’s a nice person who, as one of the ambassadors for an American organization called Girls in Sports, loves to inspire and encourage young girls to push themselves to achieve success in anything their hearts desire.
Charlotte’s connection to the world-class athlete started innocently enough.
Her dad Geoff Wareham was nordic skiing with his boys at a meet in Gander a year ago when posters of Diggins were handed out by Podium Wear — a company that provides racing gear for nordic skiers that carries Diggins’ clothing line called Go Jessie.
Wareham brought home the poster and gave it to Charlotte.
Charlotte became a fan of Diggins after seeing how she was willing to help others and motivate others while being one of the best in her sport.
Charlotte won a gold medal in her age group at her first provincial cross-country ski meet in 2016 in St. Anthony, and immediately following the event her dad sent out a tweet with a picture of her, the first time she wore a race suit from Podium Wear, with the hashtag Little Jessie attached.
Then, in July, her dad sent out another tweet of Charlotte rollerblading along the waterfront, and, like the first one he sent out, Diggins reacted by sharing the tweet with others on social media.
Wareham thought that was all to the exchange, but last week he got a call out of the blue from Clay Diggins, father of Jessie, who was heading to Deer Lake with friends from Minnesota for a moose hunting trip, something the group has done before.
Diggins told them he had something for Charlotte, so he wanted the family to meet him Friday night at the airport, and that’s what they did.
Jessie’s dad presented Charlotte with a toque, a pair of race socks and a colour poster of her on the trails.
According to Charlotte’s dad, Clay said his daughter was sitting around the table at a family meal when he mentioned that he was going back to Newfoundland for another hunting adventure, and Jessie asked him if Deer Lake was close to Corner Brook, and he said yes. Jessie then asked him to do her a favour and make arrangements to present one of her fans with a gift from her, and he was happy to do so.
“He couldn’t have been nicer. He was a lovely man. He was so sweet,” Geoff Wareham said of meeting the father of an athlete who now has his daughter more excited than ever to hit the trails.
She had already caught the nordic ski bug, but now Charlotte is a bigger fan, knowing somebody with celebrity status in sport and busy with so many things would take time out of their busy schedule to acknowledge her in the way she did.
“She’s really nice and a good role model,” Charlotte said. “It says a lot about her when she was willing to do what she did for me.”
Who knows, perhaps, the next Little Jessie is already in the making.