By: Kelly Anne-Roberts
I’ve gotten to know Carl English over the last year as a reporter. When I first met English I didn’t know what to expect.
I’d heard his story and wondered if it had made him hard or reserved, but honestly he’s been nothing but kind, approachable and patient with a rookie reporter. The hard times never defined him. He took it all as motivation and remembers nothing is ever guaranteed, and that life doesn’t always go as planned. He’s a family man who adores his kids as much as they adore him.
English’s story is one most believe could only be the script to a movie, but for the Patrick’s Cove native it’s reality. Here in Newfoundland and Labrador we’ve gotten to see him own the court for years and most recently this past season with the St. John’s Edge, breaking records and inspiring basketball fans of all ages. But for English, life growing up was more heartbreaking than record breaking.
He was just five-years-old when he lost both his parents to injuries sustained in a tragic fire. He moved in with his Aunt Betty and Uncle Junior McGrath and they became his new family. For English the tragedy didn’t end with his parents. His uncle, English’s father figure growing up, died in front of him calling his name – 16 years after his parents’ deaths. The now 37-year-old says, “The older I get the more I try to understand it.” When most would have thrown in the towel and said enough, English only became more motivated. There have been many days when English asked “Why me? Why did I survive?” But he’s done more than survive, he’s thrived, he’s inspired and he’s not done yet.
There have been good times too. He’s travelled the world playing the game he loves and it’s brought him back to his roots. He’s brought basketball to a new level in Newfoundland and Labrador. He’s a proud Newfoundlander and one of the best advocates for the province, not only because of his story and what he’s overcome but because he continues to work to build a better tomorrow for athletes of all ages here.
Keeping his Edge
For young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians inspiration isn’t too hard to find. The beginning of English’s life script may have been filled with tragedy but he’s still writing the rest of it. For English, “it was never about how many times or how hard you get knocked down but how quick you get back up.”
Kelly-Anne Roberts, NTV reporter, can be reached by emailing [email protected]