Aboriginal Team Ontario an Impressive Force
Sunday July 20th, 2014 was a beautiful day in Regina Saskatchewan. The sun was shining, there was a modest breeze and warm temperatures, and there were thousands of Indigenous youth who had come from all over North America to compete in the North American Indigenous Games.
What a sight to behold. Each province and state had coordinated their own uniforms with they’re own colours, each block of people separated from the others. Each of them, looking to the person beside them in good spirit. The spirit of sport saturated all their hearts. Laughing and cheering and dancing together as each team waiting to be called into the Mosaic Stadium. It was a mass of one beautiful purpose.
Team Ontario had amassed an impressive 500 strong contingency that will compete in 14 sports throughout 6 days of fierce competition. Even at 2pm while waiting for the opening ceremonies, the basketball competitions had already started. Some youth had just arrived on the shuttle coaches sent from around Ontario to bring as many athletes as possible to the event. My journey had started in Thunder Bay with 11 passengers, and by the time we were in Kenora, we were nearly full. This bus was one out of 4, our drive was a mere 16 hour ride, while others were 36 hours.
You would never be able to tell the challenges and struggles people had overcome to attend this event, especially the staff who made it all possible.
While the youth were scurrying around getting the accreditation badges, uniforms and bags, the Mission Staff were organizing, coordinating, problem solving and basically working 18 hour days. It took years to put this event together.
The Mission Staff, almost 20 strong, organized the tryouts, the athlete registrations, the planning committees, the transportation etc. etc. etc. They worked endless hours, most of them as volunteers, to realize a great aspiration. The culmination of thousands of man hours coming to a sudden burst of reality as they all looked on to the team they helped create. A team that filled the grounds to create a sea of red uniforms and smiling faces.
Aboriginal Team Ontario enters the arena. A roar and a spectacular view from inside the stadium. APTN films the march of hundreds of participants, where many other watch from home a thousand miles away. They see themselves on the big screens, cheering and waving and laughing! A huge swell of pride in their faces. Hundreds of Ontario youth march on the grand field and display themselves as the chosen ones to represent our team in an event that hasn’t been held in 6 years.
What a beautiful day it was.
As they disembark back to the shuttles that will take them back to the University, either for competition or for practice there is great anticipation in them. Determined to make their province proud, they marched on.
For updated sports scores visit: http://naig2014.gems.pro/Result/Sport_List.aspx
For pictures and event updates visit the Aboriginal Team Ontario (Official) Facebook page.
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