Opinion

Campbell River athletes gearing up for the BC Winter Games

Thirty-three youngsters and coaches from the Campbell River area will be competing in the BC Winter Games being held in Mission Feb. 20-23.

To prep them for what to expect, local athletes that have qualified for the games were invited to a Guide 2 the Games workshop held at the Community Centre last Thursday. Kelly Mann, BC Games president and CEO, filled the young athletes in on some practical advice on participating in the games and an orientation on what to expect.

These workshops have been travelling around the province and it made its stop in Campbell River. A small group of competitors, parents and coaches from Campbell River, Quadra Island, the Comox Valley and even a parent from Powell River took in the workshop.

These Guide 2 the Games workshops are a good idea. I don’t know if this is the first time that it’s ever been done but I’ve never seen one before. Given how many things there are to work out in not only running the BC Games but also with the athletes and teams, you have a lot of details to pull together – selecting and registering your athletes, etc.

When do you have time to let the athletes and their families know how they’re going to get there, what they should pack, what can they expect for food, where will they be sleeping, etc.?  Mann even primed the athletes on their personal responsibilities.

“Remember that you are part of a big event,” he said. “Respect other athletes...respect the volunteers.”

Mann also outlined the BC Games’ place in the grand scheme of athletic development in Canada.

“B.C. Games are part of the beginning of a continuum,” he said.

From regional and local qualifying competitions, you head to the BC Winter and Summer Games where one of the big things you pick up is learning how to train. From there you can move up to the Western Canada Summer Games where the theme is training to compete and learning to win. After that, it’s national team competition where you learn and train to win. From there, of course, it’s a launching pad to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

So developing an athletic career begins with the BC Games. Mann pointed out some high level Canadian athletes from B.C. who have all been through the BC Games: snowboarder and Olympic gold medalist Maelle Ricker, Montreal Canadiens and Team Canada goaltender Carey Price, swimmer and Olympic bronze medalist Brent Hayden.

So, the journey begins. In Campbell River Thursday night, an excited cluster of young athletes learned what to bring, how to get around, what they’ll be able to do when not competing, how to keep themselves healthy and other practical advice. The Mirror’s parent company Black Press is a major sponsor of the Games and it’s nice to see what’s being done for the athletes besides the actual competition itself.

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