Look­ing out for ath­letes

Kennedy gears up for sec­ond Canada Games ex­pe­ri­ence

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

When the 2015 Canada Games get un­der­way in just un­der a month in Prince George, Alta., most of the fo­cus will be on the ath­letes and com­pe­ti­tion.

Very few watch­ing Canada’s premier ath­letic showcase will no­tice the of­fi­cials who make sure the ath­letes get where they need to be, bring them to hos­pi­tal in case of in­jury and other non-ath­letic needs.

That will be David Kennedy’s role come Feb. 13 when the Games get started with what is sure to be a rous­ing open­ing cer­e­monies. As a part of Team New­found­land and Labrador’s 16-per­son mis­sion staff, Kennedy has been as­signed to both male and fe­male curl­ing.

“Ev­ery­one gets hooked up with a sport and you’re with them most of the time,” said Kennedy, who is also a town coun­cil­lor in Car­bon­ear.

He will serve as the of­fi­cial li­ai­son be­tween Team NL, the host com­mit­tee and the ath­letes them­selves. Should there be any sched­ule changes, Kennedy will be at the fore­front ar­rang­ing al­ter­nate modes of trans­porta­tion for his team and the like.

That could mean a lot of early morn­ings, he said.

“If there are any sched­ule changes, they are usu­ally in be­fore 7 a.m.,” said Kennedy. “If there are changes, you’re let­ting the ath­letes know and mak­ing sure they get where they need to go. It is long days where you have to be on the go.”

This will be Kennedy’s sec­ond go around as a part of this prov­ince’s mis­sion staff for a Canada Games. He was a mem­ber of the 2013 Canada Sum­mer Games mis­sion staff that went to Sher­brooke, Que.

See­ing them at their best

The Canada Games is the largest ath­letic ex­trav­a­ganza this coun­try has to of­fer young ath­letes. Teams are se­lected far ahead of time, with many ath­letes train­ing up a year be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion in an at­tempt to rep­re­sent their prov­ince to the best of their abil­i­ties.

It is that as­pect that Kennedy is most look­ing for­ward too. For many, this will be the pin­na­cle of their ath­letic ca­reer.

That, com­bined with the de­sire to prove them­selves on the na­tional stage, means big time per­for­mances and in­tense en­coun­ters.

“It is a big level (of com­pe­ti­tion) and just see­ing the ef­fort they put into it to get their per­sonal best,” he said. “That’s my big­gest thing.”

Some­times hard to hear

In past ex­pe­ri­ences at the Games, Kennedy no­ticed deci­bel lev­els at the var­i­ous venues made it im­pos­si­ble to hear at times.

The cheer­ing sec­tions are vo­cal, he said, and can be deaf­en­ing when all of the ath­letes are sup­port­ing each other, es­pe­cially the New­found­land side.

“That’s the side of the games I en­joy,” he said.

Fe­male hockey is go­ing on at the same time as curl­ing. When Kennedy has some free time, he plans on at­tend­ing a cou­ple of their games and re­port­ing back home via so­cial me­dia how they are do­ing.

Har­bour Grace’s Kelsey Shute fig­ures to be a prom­i­nent player on the team, and Kennedy looks for­ward to watch­ing her test her skills.

“With the whole at­mos­phere, it’s nice to sit back and take a video clip,” said Kennedy. “I’ll try and bring some of that back to our re­gion.”

Com­pass file photo

David Kennedy of Car­bon­ear will head to Al­berta next month to aid ath­letes rep­re­sent­ing New­found­land and Labrador at the 2015 Canada Win­ter Games.

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