Bits and pieces…

Jammin' on the washboard in the athletes lounge.

{Written yesterday, posted now…}

Pretty quiet around here.  Seems that most of the athletes are out training or competing.  In a few minutes I’m heading to the Whistler library for a book reading with Paralympic long jumper Andrea Holmes.  The book is called “Kids of Courage” and you can download it here (www.morethanmedication.com/en/paralympics).  You can also listen to an audio version, narrated by none other than my friend Brad Bowden from the sledge hockey team. (As well as our basketball team from Athens 04).

The photos above and below capture a few highlights from the past week. 

My new friend Naoki and his crew sent me this photo from the torch relay, which was taken right after I passed the flame to him.  He’s a fellow basketball player, as you can tell from the basketball chair.  He took a slightly more dynamic approach to the relay – ball chair, torch in hand, high fives, spins.  By contrast I looked every bit the retired Paralympian, aspiring politician – day chair, torch holder, queen’s wave, corny “warm my hands by the flame” schtick.  To each their own.

L-R: me, Wilfried Lemke (UN's Special Advisor on Sport for Develpment and Peace), Sir Philip Craven (president of the IPC), Ken Melamed (mayor of Whistler), John Furlong (CEO of Vanoc)

This one is from a ceremony that took place to draw attention to the Olympic Truce Art Installation in the Village Plaza.  What is the Olympic Truce?

“The philosophy of the Olympic Truce is simple: sport can inspire peace. In 2010, athletes will set aside their political, religious and social differences and compete on a level playing field in the pursuit of excellence. Their sportsmanship and behaviour are examples of how countries and individuals can find constructive ways to uphold the values of respect and friendship. “

I was invited to say a few words from an athlete’s perspective.  As much as  I agree with the above statement, I thought it could benefit from a little exposition, so I decided to narrow in on the word “can”.  True, sport can inspire peace.  It can bring out the best in us.  But of course, it can also bring out the worst in us.  It has certainly brought out the best and, at times, the worst in me.

Anything that elicits passion as sport does is a powerful, and yes, dangerous thing.  Sport does not automatically promote the values of “peace, fair play, diversity, and inclusivity”.   But it can, if we take the time to articulate those values, consider how to weave them into our sport cultures, construct symbols to remind us of their importance, and then be vigilant.

Here’s a link to a Vancouver Sun column that I really liked. (http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/2010wintergames/Column+Paralympics+world+that+moved/2677894/story.html) He’s bang on about Rick.  And makes a few other strong points.  I think he undersells the idea of inspiration though, as do many Paralympians.  No, I don’t want to be seen as merely an inspiration, and no, inspiring people is not what motivated me to compete in the Games.  But if it’s a by-product of what I do, that’s a good thing.  I used to cringe at the “I” word, but I’ve come around.  As soon as I realized that I was inspired by Steve Nash, then I realized that I shouldn’t disdain the notion of inspiring people myself.  Yes, people will be inspired for what I might consider the wrong reasons.  Someone is sure to annoy or offend me by getting teary eyed over the fact that I get out of bed in the morning.   Big deal.  Smile and move on.

Probably more to be said on that topic….

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One Response to “Bits and pieces…”

  1. Mitch Kosterman Says:

    Pat.

    I believe people should be judged by the good things they do. You have inspired and continue to inspire my son Jack and you have made our lives better. That is a good thing.

    I would also like to say watching you play basketball is a great pleasure.

    Jack says you can borrow his chair anytime.

    Mitch

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