Hats off to the host committee in Clarenville for showing how to hold and showcase a first-class sporting event.
The 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games concluded this weekend. For the duration of the bi-annual games — which alternate between summer and winter in this province — athletes raved about food and accommodations, entertainment and friendships.
That, perhaps, is even more important than the medals presented at the provincial competition — which should be regarded as some pretty prestigious hardware. The experience of competing in a provincial games is something not everybody gets the privilege of doing.
I remember taking my sleeping bag and basketball uniform and bunking down in a gymnasium along with my buddies. Although my competitiveness leaves an imprint of tournaments and games themselves, it is experiences such as participating in Winter Games that leave lasting impressions.
The 2014 Games was far different from the one I competed in. It was a real testament of today’s world, where everybody — no matter where you are — are so closely connected. Just about any time I wanted to check in on how the Games were going — in the gyms or in the snow — all I had to do was check out Twitter.
The host committee did a great job of tweeting latest developments, but also capturing moments throughout the event — retweeting athletes’ reactions and feelings. It was easy to see the gratitude and enjoyment of athletes throughout the province. Their website was also great, providing quick updates on results. It was a true example of how things should be done in the sporting world today — family, friends, and interested followers of teams should be able to easily access how things are going during any tournaments these days.
I also applaud the fact that Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole were brought in to host the closing ceremonies. It is always a treat when celebrities are introduced to local sporting events. It helps athletes and participants — especially volunteers — feel they have accomplished something special. It is the way they should feel taking part in such a special event.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that Western took home the Premier’s Cup for the most points. Western Newfoundland should be regarded as the mecca of winter sports in the province, and proved once again that to be the case. However, particularly impressive were the athletes from the frozen tundra to the north. Labrador grabbed the most medals — out-dueling Western by one.
It just shows those of us surrounded by the mounds of snow, and braving the bitter temperatures, have made the best of those long winter months.
Congrats to all. It is truly an example where everybody are winners.
Cory Hurley is a reporter/photographer with The Western Star. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.