Shut­tling off to the Arc­tic Games

Bay Roberts res­i­dent to of­fi­ci­ate bad­minton com­pe­ti­tions


Re­tired ed­u­ca­tor Roland Dawe of Bay Roberts dis­ap­pears into the liv­ing room of his home.

It’s the morn­ing of Feb. 9 and Dawe is speak­ing with The Com­pass about his up­com­ing trip to the Arc­tic Win­ter Games, March 210 in White­horse, Yukon where he will of­fi­ci­ate the un­der- 16 and un­der- 19 bad­minton com­pe­ti­tion.

He re­turns min­utes later car­ry­ing a white plas­tic bag full of me­tal pins. His Burmese moun­tain dog, Bruno, rises from its spot on the kitchen floor to meet him.

Dawe pulls out a cou­ple of white bathroom tow­els. At­tached to them are pins he col­lected at pre­vi­ous Games in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

“I hope the ho­tel doesn’t want these back,” he said with a chuckle.

There are pins places like Green­land, North­west Ter­ri­to­ries, Alaska, Rus­sia, North­ern Al­berta. Some of them come in sets, like a wal­rus or a seal, while some are sin­gle pins.

Look­ing at the sou­venirs, you can see a smile creep across his face, the cor­ners of his mouth mov­ing up­wards.

For Dawe, each pin is a door­way to a dif­fer- ent time and place.

“Each pin is a mem­ory,” he said. “I can look at them and re-live the games.”

Pin trad­ing is a big part of the ex­pe­ri­ence. With each area bring­ing a unique pin or pin set to the games, it be­comes a chal­lenge to col­lect them all.

When he trav­els again to the Games in March, Dawe is sure to come back with many more in­ter­est­ing sto­ries and a dif­fer­ent set of pins

He is look­ing for­ward to chas­ing down that one last pin he needs to com­plete his set.

“It’s one of my favourite parts about go­ing,” he said.

When Dawe makes his jour­ney to White­horse, he will be do­ing so as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Nu­navut.

Shar­ing sto­ries and meet­ing peo­ple

Dawe has been trav­el­ling to the north­ern ter­ri­to­ries of Canada for the bet­ter part of the decade, since his re­tire­ment from teach­ing in 2001.

He said he “got bored” of the home rou­tine and de­cided to take a teach­ing po­si­tion at Qi­tiqliq High School in Arviat, Nu­navut.

Dawe quickly be­came ac­cli­mated with the peo­ple he was work­ing with, and main­tains those friend­ships to­day.

It is those peo­ple, and ones he has met through bad­minton, that he looks for­ward to re­unit­ing with.

“We stay in con­tact through email,” said Dawe.

When they get to­gether, they share sto­ries and catch up on what has been go­ing on in their lives.

Each time he goes to ei­ther the Arc­tic Games or the Canada Games ( 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007), Dawe rel­ishes the chance to meet new peo­ple, ex­chang­ing sto­ries and ex­pe­ri­ences.

In­ter­act­ing with play­ers

Dawe spends some of his free time in Bay Roberts work­ing as an of­fi­cial with the Bay Arena Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion.

He said his work with bad­minton at the Games is vastly dif­fer­ent from that of a hockey of­fi­cial.

“If a player, for ex­am­ple, is serv­ing wrong, I’ll pull them aside af­ter the game and show them what they did wrong and how to fix it,” Dawe ex­plained. “What other sport do you see that in?”

Some of the play­ers Dawe sees at the Games are ones he has been coach­ing since 20003, when he be­came tour­na­ment di­rec­tor for the Nu­navut Ter­ri­to­rial Cham­pi­onships.

“I’ve watched them grow as play­ers,” he said.

The Arc­tic Win­ter Games is a sport­ing com­pe­ti­tion for north­ern and Arc­tic ath­letes.

Be­sides the ben­e­fits of main­tain­ing an ac­tive life­style, the Games em­pha­size cul­ture and val­ues. Bad­minton has given much to Dawe. “I en­joy the trav­el­ling, see­ing new places and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new things,” he said.

It has al­lowed him to visit each of Canada’s prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries. There is only one place he hasn’t vis­ited that he’d like to hang around for.

“I re­ally want to visit Green­land,” said Dawe.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Roland Dawe of Bay Roberts em­braces his friend from the 2004 Arc­tic Games in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Wood Buf­falo.

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

Roland Dawe sur­veys his im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of pins from pre­vi­ous Arc­tic Win­ter Games. He trav­els to White­horse next month to of­fi­ci­ate at the 2012 Games.

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