Bourne’s new iden­tity

Man­ager of 2012 NL Sum­mer Games re­flects on suc­cess­ful sport­ing ex­trav­a­ganza

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

It’s mid-af­ter­noon at the Car­bon­ear Re­cre­ation Com­plex and there’s one lone walker on the rub­ber­ized track, march­ing to a steady pace un­der an over­cast sky and light winds.

It’s al­most too quiet for such a sprawl­ing, mod­ern re­cre­ation fa­cil­ity, but on this day, Stephanie Bourne is not about to com­plain.

Walk­ing from the swim­ming pool to the bleach­ers, Bourne looks en­er­gized and re­freshed, as if a weight has been lifted off her youth­ful shoul­ders.

A month ago, this fa­cil­ity is alive with the sites and sounds of com­pe­ti­tion, and Bourne was largely re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing it pos­si­ble.

As man­ager of the 2012 NL Sum­mer Games, Bourne car­ried a heavy load for the year lead­ing up to the sport­ing spec­ta­cle, which was co­hosted by the towns of Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace from Aug. 18-25.

But the Games are now just a mem­ory for the roughly 1,300 athlets who took part, and the tempo has slowed con­sid­er­ably for Bourne.

“Just com­ing back to Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace area, work with all of the peo­ple that I’ve known grow­ing up and to see how much ev­ery­one came to­gether, I took a real pride in do­ing it for the two towns. I re­ally wanted to see a suc­cess­ful out­come for it, and I’m re­ally happy that we got it.”

The fever­ish pace that kept her hop­ping from morn­ing un­til night for so many months has been re­placed by more mun­dane tasks as she puts a wrap on her year-long com­mit­ment to the Games.

She’s no longer jug­gling me­dia re­quests, woo­ing spon­sors or ar­rang­ing meet­ings with the many Games’ com­mit­tees.

It’s now about the pa­per­work as she fo­cuses on ty­ing up the loose ends, in­clud­ing pay­ing the bills and fi­nal­iz­ing re­ports.

“Ev­ery­thing that went up for the Games, must come down,” she said.

Praise for a job well done

Bourne was the re­cip­i­ent of some con­sid­er­able praise from host com­mit­tee co-chairs Mil­ton Peach and Joey Ge­orge dur­ing the clos­ing cer­e­monies of the Games on Aug. 25.

Ge­orge sug­gested her ca­reer was on an up­ward tra­jec­tory, and that these Games were “just the be­gin­ning.”

Many say the praise was wellde­served, con­sid­er­ing the Games were given high marks by par­tic­i­pants and spec­ta­tors at nearly ev­ery level.

But Bourne is not let­ting all the at­ten­tion in­flate her ego. She’s un­pre­ten­tious, prac­ti­cal and lowkey, but also very hard-work­ing, tena­cious and en­ter­pris­ing.

It’s these same at­tributes she plans to bring back to her full-time po­si­tion as a PSO ad­min­is­tra­tive co-or­di­na­tor with Sport NL when she re­turns to her St. John’s of­fice in Novem­ber.

“I’m ex­cited to go back, be­cause I love what I do,” she said.

Man­age an­other Games?

Among her fi­nal du­ties is pre­par­ing a de­tailed fi­nal re­port, which will be handed over to those or­ga­niz­ing the 2016 NL Sum­mer Games in Con­cep­tion Bay South.

The re­port will in­clude any sug­ges­tions each com­mit­tee would have mov­ing for­ward, their thoughts on these Games, what went wrong and what went right.

“All of those have to come in and I have to pre­pare a fi­nal re­port,” said Bourne. “There’s a lot of pa­per work and a lot of things like that in my of­fice right now.”

With 2016 still in the dis­tance, Bourne is un­sure if she will be in­volved in the run­ning of those Games.

“I’ve been asked if I would go to an­other community and do one … but I’m not go­ing to jump into one any­time soon,” she said.

How­ever, Bourne would not rule it out.

“I’m never go­ing to say never,” she said. “It is very de­mand­ing, tak- ing a full year of your life and ded­i­cat­ing it solely to the Games.”

Bourne said even af­ter liv­ing and breath­ing the Games for the year, her pas­sion for sport still burns.

“I love sport when I started, and I loved sport when I fin­ished,” she said. “I don’t want to turn into hat­ing it or any­thing.”

Home sweet home

For Bourne, be­ing able to come back to her home re­gion and run­ning the pres­ti­gious ath­letic event was some­thing she will never for­get.

In fact, it was the big­gest thing Bourne will take from the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Just com­ing back to Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace area, work with all of the peo­ple that I’ve known grow­ing up and to see how much ev­ery­one came to­gether, I took a real pride in do­ing it for the two towns,” she said. “I re­ally wanted to see a suc­cess­ful out­come for it, and I’m re­ally happy that we got it.”

The ath­letes

Mean­while, the Games are about the ath­letes.

all

An­other as­pect of the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence that re­ally stood out to Bourne was the spirit of com­pe­ti­tion ex­hib­ited by the ath­letes.

“No doubt, they had first-class com­pe­ti­tion while they were here,” she said.

First and fore­most, the ath­letes evolved into more than just op­po­nents over the course of the seven-day event.

“You can say they were com­ing here to com­pete, but they were all friends at the end of the day,” said Bourne.

Aside from the ath­letes be­com­ing friends through com­pe­ti­tion, Bourne said one of the big­gest things was get­ting the ath­letes to town.

“That’s the thing, once you get the ath­letes here and reg­is­tered it kind of has to go ahead re­gard­less,” she said.

Community sup­port

Bourne, like most ev­ery­one in­volved with the Games, was blown away by the sheer num­ber of spec­ta­tors who took in one event or an­other dur­ing the week.

Ev­ery­where you turned, the stands were full of peo­ple out to sup­port each and ev­ery ath­lete in the Games.

“For that week, you didn’t know any­thing else in Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace ex­isted,” said Bourne. “It seemed like ev­ery­one was of the mind­set of the Sum­mer Games.

“It says a lot for the area for com­ing out and show­ing sup­port for the host ath­letes and ath­letes from all over the prov­ince. “We had amaz­ing crowds.” In the weeks prior to the Games, much talk re­volved around the num­ber of vol­un­teers, or lack thereof.

Bourne said she had been told

“The last cou­ple of weeks, there were stacks and

stacks of vol­un­teer ap­pli­ca­tions com­ing in.”

not to ex­pect much move­ment in the vol­un­teer ranks un­til the last cou­ple of weeks be­fore the be­gin­ning of the Games. It turned out to be true.

“The last cou­ple of weeks, there were stacks and stacks of vol­un­teer ap­pli­ca­tions com­ing in,” she said.

Seem­ingly overnight, the vol­un­teer me­tres that had been erected in both towns filled to the top.

“If we could have popped the top off of the vol­un­teer me­tre, it would’ve just ex­ploded,” said Bourne.

In the end, Bourne had high praise for the vol­un­teers and the work they did dur­ing the Games.

“Wher­ever peo­ple turned, there was a per­son in a green shirt will­ing to help,” she said.

For Bourne, Aug. 25 capped off a long week that saw her jug­gle mul­ti­ple com­mit­tees, events and other is­sues as they arose.

There were no ma­jor spats be­tween com­mit­tee mem­bers, and Bourne praised the work of Joey Ge­orge and Mil­ton Peach.

While the week brought a cou­ple of sleep­less nights, Bourne said she would not change any­thing about the Games.

And, what about the af­ter?

“The Satur­day af­ter was a very, solid sleep,” she said. “But, then I was think­ing, what am I sup­posed to do to­mor­row?”

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

night

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Stephanie Bourne of Car­bon­ear, man­ager for the 2012 NL Sum­mer Games.

– Stephanie Bourne

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