BC Winter Games – Good for the Community

BC winter games were such a great event and I want to start off by thanking all the volunteers…some 1800 strong…that is an impressive number. Bill Bidlake and Doug Macmillan along with their committee have done the city proud – well done.

During the opening ceremonies I talked about why the games were more than just an economic driver for the area. They were a chance to showcase our region for our amenities, beauty and hospitality. The games were about community pride, coming together to create an experience, proving that we know how to host great events, and why we say "Penticton's got game". We hope that the 1735 athletes, coaches, officials along with friends and family enjoyed their time here and we invited them to come again.

On Thursday we heard from Kristi Richards about her Olympic run…she is a BC games alumni and one of our regions hometown hero's. At the 2010 Olympics after wiping out; instead of crying, or getting frustrated and freaking out…she recomposed, refocused and finished what she described as a jump of her career.

I remember watching it on TV and it was a proud moment and very inspirational. I like to think her speech had an effect on some the athletes this past weekend.

I watched some of the events…during warm up an athlete was doing her routine. The end move was quite technical and difficult. She had trouble with the move and retried it several times, each time getting more frustrated and making bigger errors. You could see the fear and the panic on her face. Her coach came up to her and said (I'm paraphrasing and also guessing because I was in the stands) something like "you can do this, trust your training, believe in yourself", so she went off to the side to recompose and refocus. A minute later the event started and she was up, but this time I could see the determination in her eyes.

As she was finishing her routine and getting to that closing maneuver; everyone was on pins and needles… well she nailed it. You are supposed to hold your pose at the end, but you could see on her face the euphoria and excitement of what she accomplished. It was probably the longest 2 seconds of her life – then she finally exploded up and down with joy because she had done something her body 5 minutes earlier didn’t want to do. There was a couple in front of me, and the man had a smile ear to ear, while the lady was wiping the tears from her eyes. I assume it was the girl's parents; however as look around many people beside me where also overwhelmed with the emotions of the moment as we witnessed this young girl’s triumph.

That was my experience and memory of the games. It was such a proud, happy and momentous moment.

Sport is so very powerful for kids…not only does it get them off the couch and be active, but it teaches them life lessons; giving them confidence and self esteem to overcome adversity. They learn the value of hard work and a strong work ethic, working as a team and with others while playing within the rules, and the consequences for when rules are broken. It teaches them about the thrills of success and disappointments of setbacks or defeats. Sport doesn't just develop future athletes…it develops future leaders.

That is why Penticton was so very proud to be a sponsor, so very proud to be the host community, and so very thankful for all the volunteers and sponsors that made the BC Winter Games happen. We hope the games created some great memories and that the kids draw from this experience as they follow their life pursuits whether it is in athletics, academics, arts, business or whatever their heart desires.