Although winning a silver medal in soccer was certainly a high point for Brock Terlesky, the trip to Antigonish, Nova Scotia with Special Olympics B.C. for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games July 31-Aug. 4 was much more than that for him.
It was about camaraderie, self-improvement, working towards common goals and discovery.
Terlesky arrived in the eastern province during a heat wave.
The locals, who were not used to the humidity levels, jokingly blamed his teammates from Kelowna for bringing over the hot, damp air.
Scorching weather did not stop the Team B.C. soccer squad from performing at a very high level.
Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Alberta all fell to the team by scores of 6-0, 5-0 and 4-0.
“We got quite a few clean sheets,” says Terlesky, referencing the goalless score sheets of the opposing teams.
Although he got a chance to meet a lot of people, it was a priority for him to bond with the Kelowna Rebels.
Riley Foster and he had only played in one tournament with them leading up to the national games, so quick cohesion was of the utmost importance.
“If we were going to stick with them for a week, it was best to find the chemistry with them,” Terlesky says.
“It was important to the coaches and they were very diligent in helping me get along with everyone.”
While he didn’t get to start with the B.C. team, his best skills were often put to good use.
“The coaches definitely recognized me as a defender who was very fast,” he says.
“Whenever there was an attacker on the other side who was speedy and made breakaways, [the coaches] would rely on me to become kind of a moving wall on that attacker.
“I was very happy that they respected and valued me that way. I noticed a lot of the faster athletes get the offensive role, but I value a defender who is agile.”
The Ontario team who took the eventual gold medal in the 2-0 finale provided a terrific challenge during the games.
In the first match between the two powerhouses, B.C. was down by a goal and needed to score a penalty shot to tie it up at one.
“There was emotion and a sense of stress from both sides,” Terlesky says.
“But that’s what made it a memorable match.”
Despite not winning the top prize, he feels quite satisfied with the meet as a whole.
“I’m not the type of person that has a huge amount of stakes when it comes to standings with medals,” he says.
“There were some people that were pretty sore to not get the gold, as they had been to international meets before, but I was just grateful to be there, so it didn’t feel like a huge bother to me.”
It was more than enough to travel to the opposite end of the country and compete in high level sports, while watching other athletes strive to improve themselves.
“I love how Special Olympics incorporates positive change into people’s lives outside of sports,” he says.
“I want everyone to take something with them after the games that feels like a positive change and I felt that after the week I did.”