Friday, August 2, 2013

Bonjour from Sherbrooke!


I have the pleasure of writing from Sherbrooke Quebec!  I'm here for a week for the Canada Summer Games as mission staff for Team Northwest Territories!  I'm pretty pumped to be back in the realm of elite sport, even if it's not as an athlete.  Although I've coached at the canoe club, I've never been involved in a sporting event at this level before as anything but an athlete.  I'm really excited to experience the flip side of the event, gain a greater understanding and appreciation for all that goes into the games and hopefully get my foot in the door for more involvement with team NWT.

Today was a travel day.  We left Yellowknife around noon on a chartered flight that took us straight to Montreal.  At the airport we saw an awesome army plane loading up on the tarmac beside us. We flew with Canadian North and they took really good care of us on the flight.  We even got a hot meal that was delicious en route even though it was only a 4 and a half hour flight.

When we got to the montreal airport, the plane taxied right up to the hanger and we were greeted by the mascot and a whole slew of Canada Games staff.  There was music (the games has their own song!) and snacks and we were well taken care of until our luggage was off loaded and we jumped on coach busses for the 2 hour drive into Sherbrooke.

Arriving in Montreal

I have actually been to Sherbrooke before!  My very last (and most successful ever!) National Championships for Canoe/Kayak were in Sherbrooke.  So I have a bit of a sweet spot for it.

We got off the bus on the Bishop's University campus which is the 'athletes village' for the games.  We grabbed our bags and headed straight into a mission staff meeting with the chef de mission and the other Team NWT big wigs.  Everyone has been really awesome so far, and it seems as though this whole mission staff thing is going to be pretty chill, and way less strict and structured than I anticipated.  Essentially my job is to float around the venues watching sports all day, with a 2 hr shift in the office answering phones.  The only catch is that if any athletes get injured, I have to liason between the athlete and Team NWT.  I don't actually provide any medical services, I just accompany athletes to the hospital when their coaches have to stay behind with the rest of the team.  Luckily Team NWT is small and we only have about 30 athletes here this week.  We've got swimmers and basketball players so fingers crossed no one gets hurt!

As mission staff, we're actually staying in a hotel in town and not in the village.  Which is actually kind of nice because it allows us some down time and allows us to be 'off duty' in the evenings which is a luxury that the coaches and youth ambassadors staying in the village don't have.   We also get our own hotel rooms and our own vehicles to drive throughout the games.  Pretty sweet!

The real fun starts tomorrow with the opening ceremonies and the start of our jobs as mission staff.  So far the other mission staff have been awesome and I'm anticipating a really fun week!

I'll be tweeting from @kewparkes throughout the week and if you want to check out the games, follow @jcg2013 and #jcg2013.

The only downside?  Having to leave this face for a whole 10 days!  She's in good hands with Chris' sister but I still wish I could just bring her with me every where I go.


PS Internet is a bit sketch at the hotel but hopefully I'll still be able to get some pictures up eery day!

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