This being the second week of the Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Quebec, I find myself reminiscing about all of my fond memories I have from my experiences being a member of Team Manitoba.
I was fortunate to been able to attend two Canada Winter Games – in 1991 and 1995 – for synchronized swimming. Now that I am typing this I realize that this was now over 20 years ago (boy does time fly). The first time I went to Canada Games in 1991 I was a grade 10 student. One of my favorite memories of this trip to PEI was when my teammates thought it would be funny to announce in the Team Toba newsletter that I had a crush on a fellow Team Toba hockey player. Needless to say, at 15 years old, I was beyond mortified. Luckily this was not my only memory of the trip!
The pep rallies before and during the Games were amazing. I was so proud to be a part of Team Manitoba. The energy amongst all of the teams was contagious. I was also very fortunate to have a coach that was a believer in actually “seeing” the city where we were competing. My long-time coach, Jennifer Land, ensured that we saw the sights including the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ house, the extremely windy ocean and the famous “Cows” store while out shopping.
The actual competition part of the Games was also very memorable. Even though we didn’t win a medal, I felt like we really did a great job and had a fantastic performance.
The second time I went to the Canada Winter Games, I was a “veteran” team member. Having been to the Games once before, I knew what to expect. Canada Games is completely different than any other competition within sport. It is almost like a “mini-Olympics” in the fact that it has all other sports competing at the same time. During these Games, I was able to attend a number of the other sporting events other than my own. I was proud to be able to cheer on my “teammates” within our Team Toba family.
Again at these Games in 1995, I didn’t win a medal. I was happy with how I performed but the greatest part of this entire competition was the experience. It was something I will never forget. My 12 years of training allowed me to go to many different cities in Canada to compete. Unfortunately many of these trips are now a blur in my memory as I saw the competition location, the hotel and the airport. The Canada Games was a chance for me to be a part of a larger athletic, sportsmanship-centred team. I am truly grateful for these experiences and hope that the athletes currently at the Canada Games enjoy the same positive experiences.