Firstly I have to admit… I have an on-again, off-again relationship with sports. Most of the time, I could really care less about them! It would probably kill my husband to hear me say that but I just can’t get into it on the same scale as him and his friends. The names, the numbers, the trades, the fantasy leagues, all the abbreviations – NFL, CFL, NBA, NHL, UFC… Where does it end? That said, there is something that always draws me in. Sitting in a packed stadium or arena, sensing the anticipation of all the fans around me, smelling the delicious food, feeling the pure excitement of the players entering the field of play. I like cheering on local players. I enjoy watching my friends expressions as points are scored. I love sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation when teams are neck and neck… I guess what I’m saying is that I like the experience of watching sports… live!
Way back in ‘93 – I remember my mom taking me to the Summer Games, well I shouldn’t say I remember because I was only 8 years old and the only memory I have is this picture of me sitting between two tall basketball players… [see dorky pic of me to right] but I know it was a great event because Kamloopsians still talk about it. In fact, just yesterday, I heard someone who has lived here their whole life say “I didn’t go to the Summer Games in ‘93” and another woman turned with a concerned look on her face and gasped! The horror, the horror! I think I felt the same way about sports then as I do now. The whole experience was really exciting but as mentioned, I have no recollection of actually watching any games.
Now 18 years later – our team here at Tourism Kamloops have been busy preparing and anticipating one of the largest events to come to Kamloops this year. We began by working on the bid proposal. Following that we helped rally volunteers; organized badges, press kits, packages, coupons and prizing; ordered and assembled one of the most impressive tents I have ever seen and so much more that I am probably not even aware of (Sorry Kris and Lisa – I know there was so much more that went into this!) I was definitely thrilled because this is a huge event for Kamloops, but I wasn’t really planning on taking in any of the sports… that was until last Saturday.
August 6th – I arrived at Riverside Park for my first shift in our tent. I was pretty excited to be there because the weather was great and we had some great prizes to give out to people. As I walked into the park, I couldn’t help but notice the live music playing, the smell of freshly cooked Bannock (happens to be one of my favs!), the mascots and the people… so many people! This was bigger than I thought. The community was out to support the games and take in the festivities that came along with it. And really, why wouldn’t they? If there is something we know about Kamloopsians, it is that we are an extremely supportive and involved community. I was energized. We had many visitors who came to our booth: lots of locals looking for games information but every now and then came a group of visitors – either here to watch the games or here on vacation and the games were just a very welcomed coincidence! Regardless of their reason to visit, a common theme emerged - the visitors were just absolutely blown away by our community. The venues, the festival at Riverside Park, the helpfulness of residents and, of course, our famous weather. This has to be one of the most rewarding experiences of working in the Tourism Industry – having visitors completely stoked on your city! Seeing everyone so eager for the games – got me even more pumped… This is the part of sports that interests me and here it was happening in our own backyard! Next thing you know, I am checking my cell phone for medal counts and results and following the WCSG facebook page for any new updates! This week I am planning on taking in some Volleyball and Soccer games and can't wait to be sitting in the stands, being one of the fans sitting on the edge of my seat, cheering on our BC Teams! With a few days left of sporting events and nightly festivities, this event is already surpassing my expectations and is sure to be just as memorable as the 93' Summer Games!
Until next time,
For more information on the Western Canada Summer Games - go to http://www.tourismkamloops.com/home_showSection_ID_444.html