SPORTS

Sports Day captures real reason for playing

11/25/2014 05:36 EST | Updated 01/25/2015 05:59 EST
I went digging through my garage the other day.  My aim was to fish out all the old sports equipment I could find.

The theory being I could use these somewhat antiquated and dusty artifacts as props for the opening sequence we were about to shoot for the 5th edition of RBC Sports Day in Canada on Saturday.

Most precious and thought provoking was a badly cracked, wooden, lacrosse stick complete with leather webbing and ancient, stretched, cat gut to hold it all together. 

This jewel of a stick dated back to the early 1970’s and the good old days when my now deceased, best friend, Danny Robb and I used to spend hours firing Indian rubber balls off the brick wall at the public school in our community. We also played Canada’s national summer game on the school team for our beloved teacher and coach Mr. Heffernan who had starred in pro lacrosse for the old Peterborough Lakers.

When I got the majority of this equipment pumped up and in working order having concocted the shooting sequence for the show opening, I was immediately transported back to those happy times when the subject of sports was not my occupation, as it is now, but rather the joy and constant pre-occupation of my life.

These were the tools with which I happily missed supper on long summer evenings. They represented the pickup gatherings with my comrades that kept me slogging through the mud for one last long bomb touchdown or braving frostbite in order to score the perfect goal, under the lights, on an outdoor ice rink.

Now, as I stumbled through the scenes where I attempted to race on roller blades, free kick soccer balls into the goal, and whack lofty flies barely making it past the soggy infield of a local ball diamond, I took great solace in the fact that these were familiar sporting pursuits that were an essential part of growing up where and when I did.

They were activities and games that I had not only tried but that I had loved and even dreamed about somewhere along the way. The stark reality that I was presently an awkward and decidedly goofy middle-aged adult acting like a kid didn’t much seem to matter.

About 2,000 events registered for Sports Day

It strikes me that RBC Sports Day in Canada is a chance to recapture, indeed celebrate, the sweet magic that the items I found again in my garage, and those in so many similar garages and basements around the nation, have the potential to conjure up. 

All across this gigantic country, in every nook and cranny of it, nearly 2,000 separate events have been registered and almost every sport and game will be represented. So too, will a culturally diverse legion of male and female Canadians comprised of all ages, faiths and abilities.

And the hope is there will, on the day, be very little pre-occupation with the things that can burden sport with the qualities that threaten to make it ordinary. 

There may not be excessive worrying about winning and losing. Contracts and ticket prices will most definitely not come into play. The tendency will be to participate and not just to watch. Overbearing coaches and demanding parents just might, for once, be in the minority. Concussions and cheating could finally be relegated to the back burner.

Perhaps RBC Sports Day in Canada will get closer to what this is really meant to represent.

The basic and all too obvious objects of our fascination with athletic games can often linger, hidden away in storage cupboards far from the actual playing fields. They can be underused and sometimes taken for granted if not forgotten altogether. It's true they are symbols of healthy living, community spirit and the acquired skills which make us better teammates and leaders.

But, more importantly, they encompass sport’s bottom line.

They are the things that help make our lives fun as we continue to chase the simplicity of play.                       

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