Looking out for athletes
Kennedy gears up for second Canada Games experience
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.”
David Kennedy of Carbonear will head to Alberta next month to aid athletes representing Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.