I’m not sure many things make me feel better about the world than spending time at a sporting event, and covering sports this weekend was a great reminder of why.
Taking photos at the Cariboo North Central Regional Skating Competition and the Biathlon BC Cup race, there was such a feeling of community and of support that I couldn’t help but walk away from each event with a big smile on my face.
We’ve likely all heard about — and maybe even experienced — the hockey parents who yell at referees, and in any sport, there are probably people who push too much, who disrespect officials and, in general, forget what’s really important, but so much good can be seen and felt at sporting events.
This weekend, I saw competitors cheering each other on, coaches offering helpful hints and words of encouragement, and parents proudly videotaping their children. It can be so heartwarming to spend time at a competition, even without taking into account the inspiring performances of the athletes.
This was especially the case at Hallis Lake, where the Cariboo Ski Touring Club hosted the third Biathlon BC Cup race. I met a man who is relatively new to biathlon who got into the sport after watching his daughters compete. He now competes in the Masters Men 50 division, racing the same course as his daughters. There were also recreational athletes, non-competitive athletes who are part of a big event right alongside the competitive athletes. Add to the mix the 60-plus volunteers who helped out each day, and the event had a real community feel.
The figure skating competition felt like a little community as well. Everywhere you looked, there were friendly volunteers. Each time a skater’s name was announced, a loud cheer would erupt from the stands, and you could just feel the support for them.
Being at these competitions was inspiring, and it also made me really excited for the big event coming to Quesnel next week, the BC Mens’ and Ladies’ Curling Championships. Our town will host the 20 best teams from across the province, starting Tuesday, Jan. 29, and I think we’re in for a real treat. There will be happy stories and sad stories coming out of the competition, I’m sure, as athletes’ hopes rise and fall in a game where wins and losses can be decided by mere inches. But one of the things that excites me is that some of the best stories might not even come from the ice. The fans, officials, coaches, ice-makers, volunteers and curlers all have their own interesting stories, and I, for one, can’t wait to learn about them and be inspired by them.
Here’s to more great weekends of sport in our community, particularly the highly-anticipated one when we see the provincial curling champions crowned Feb. 2-3. — Lindsay Chung