Archive for the ‘2011 Canada Winter Games Halifax’ Category

Sporting Experience

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

February 26th, 2011

“Those who have done great things are those who were not afraid to attempt big things, who were not afraid to risk failure in order to gain success.” ~ B. C. Forbes

The great thing about the Games (and about my job) is that I get an opportunity to experience sports that I wouldn’t typically watch. For most sports I know the basic objective and rules, but often don’t know finer details. But being at the Games allows me to travel to the various venues to cheer on and support the athletes, and sometimes learn while I am there. I often work with athletes in a classroom setting, giving presentations or talking with them. I don’t always get to see them perform. At the Games, not only do I have the opportunity to learn more about each sport, but I also get to see the athletes in action. The skills that they have are astonishing.

Take archery for example. The point is to hit the centre of the target. Sounds pretty simple. But to see the athletes going through their preparation and routine is extremely interesting. Once they have loaded the arrow, they take aim. However, instead of releasing quickly, they hold steady for about ten seconds, quieting their body and focusing their mind, until they are still, have aim, and are able to shoot the arrow to the centre of the target. Team Sask’s training obviously paid off, as they have won multiple medals at the Games.

I was lucky to experience a beautiful day last week at Ski Wentworth, the venue for freestyle skiing in the first week, and alpine skiing in the second week. I joined some other mission staff for a day at the hill. We were able to watch Team Sask practice on the aerial jumps, as well as take in the final of the moguls. I climbed the hill (no chairlift needed!) and when I got to the top, turned around to look down. I have been skiing for years, but still found the slope quite steep. Not only do the freestyle athletes ski down that hill straight, they have to land a jump first. I stood beside their jump, and was amazed at how tall it was. The jump is twice as tall as me, and vaults the athletes 15 feet into the air. And to watch the athletes twist and turn themselves in the air is incredible. Standing beside the jump certainly gave me perspective on what the athletes are actually able to do. Their execution is unbelievable!

While I could probably detail each sport that I have been to, I will end with wheelchair basketball. If you have never watched the sport, I highly encourage you to go to a game. The speed, shooting, passing, and manoeuvring make for an extremely entertaining sport. The players are able to turn their chairs on a dime. In addition, those athletes are seriously tough. They bump and collide into each other in their wheelchairs, often crashing to the floor. I gasped the first time I saw an athlete fly to the floor. And watched in even more astonishment as they quickly pushed themselves up and were back into the game. I know that if I took a fall like that, I probably wouldn’t be returning to play. As an additional aspect, the teams are co-ed, making for a unique team dynamic. Congrats to Team Sask who won a bronze in wheelchair basketball last week!

Welcome Week 2!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

“Anything is possible. You can be told you have a 90 percent chance, or a 50 percent chance, or a 1 percent chance to win. But you have to believe, and you have to fight.” ~ Lance Armstrong

Week two athletes have arrived at the Canada Games! Turnover day was on Saturday, when week one athletes went home, and week two athletes arrived. The athletes must keep their team clothing until after they are finished competition (for the first week athletes) or until after the closing ceremonies (for the second week athletes). Friday and Saturday was a flurry of activity, with athletes from various provinces and territories trying to barter and trade clothing. The Saskatchewan green jackets have been extremely popular, so Team Sask athletes were in high demand before leaving Halifax. Some were not willing to part with their gear, while others couldn’t resist getting a few pieces in exchange for either the outer or inner shell of the Sask jacket.

Week two competition began yesterday, with Team Sask’s women’s hockey team in action against Newfoundland and Labrador. The teams were playing in Dartmouth, so a few mission staff decided to take the ferry across. I have wanted to take the ferry since we got here, so jumped at the opportunity. It was a bit of a chilly day, but we decided to venture to the upper deck to take in the full view. However, before we could actually make our way outside, we were stopped by an official looking man. Instead of chastising us for trying to stand outside, he invited us upstairs to the captain’s quarters. We had a great view of the harbour from up there, made friends with the crew, and even talked the captain into letting one of the mission staff drive the ferry!

Best of luck to all week two athletes!

Jaime Lammerding-Final Blog

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Feb. 18, 2011

Hello for the final time my loyal readers! This will sadly be my last blog from the Canada Games. I had a fantastic time here, the atmosphere is great and I’ve met a ton of friendly people.

Saskatchewan had tons of success on the court as we won bronze on Thursday after defeating Manitoba 58 to 56. It was one of the closest games I’ve ever experienced in my life and believe me I’ve experienced quite a lot of games in a variety of different sports. It really came down to free throw shots and I’m thankful now more than ever that our coach made us do so many free throws during practice. You may think that some of the drills you do are not as important as others, but believe me everything counts towards your goal, no matter what you do. Finishing off my on court experiences I would like to thank my team mates, my coaches, my parents and all the other parents and the supporters. I would also like to thank the people who were unable to come, because of injury or otherwise, you ALL contributed.

As for my off court experiences I would like to thank all of the volunteers; from the people driving me around to the various venues to the people doing security in the hotel. I don’t know if you get thanked enough, but to all the volunteers: THANK-YOU!!!!

For my final contribution I thought I’d leave you with a poem. The Team Sask Council wanted each team to come up with a poem of 4-6 lines about what you would bring to the Canada Games. Nothing ever came of it, but here is the poem my team and I wrote.

Bring a laugh, Bring a cheer
Bring whatever you hold dear.
Bring your skates, Bring your wheels
Bring some moves for the highlight reels.
Bring yourself, Bring your team
But most importantly, Bring a DREAM!!!!

Jaime Lammerding

Jaime Lammerding-Blog 3

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Feb.  17, 2011

Hello! A lot has happened since I wrote my last blog and it’s only been two days! On Tuesday we played two games, Alberta in the morning and B.C. in the evening. We beat Alberta 55 to 34, it was a good game for us, we started off strong, but lots of our shots weren’t falling, especially our lay ups. Winning the game against Alberta in the morning meant that it came down to whoever won the game between Saskatchewan and B.C. to see who moved on to the semi-final.
It was quite a game between Saskatchewan and B.C., everybody knew what was on the line and everbody wanted to win. Luckily for Saskatchewan we came out on top defeating B.C. 52 to 40. Like I said it was a great game, B.C. got up on us early but we managed to fight our way back and take the victory even though it was a very close game.
Beating B.C. meant that we got to face Ontario in the semi-final. Ontario was first in their pool winning all three preliminary games. We knew going in that Ontario would be a tough game, they have a lot of players who have played this game for a long time and have played together for quite a while. That being said we played a great game. We pushed hard, and played our game for 40 minutes. One of the best parts of the game was that a lot of our rookies were able to log some quality court time and they really made it count. Watching how they played this game makes me think that the next Canada Games team will be just as strong if not stronger than the one we have now.
Since we lost to Ontario we face Manitoba today in the bronze medal game at 5 p.m. at Citadel High, this promises to be another great game!
Off the court I would just like to give a big Happy Birthday to Manitoba coach Mandy Johnson and to my teammate Jared Sajtos!!!

A day in the life

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

“From a little spark may burst a mighty flame,” ~Dante Alighieri

There is always more than meets the eye at an initial glance. Here at the Games, we are seeing the product of all the athletes’ hard work. We are witnessing their games, competitions, and races, watching them chase their dreams. The hard work, long hours, training, blood, sweat, and tears are now paying off. The training that at times may have seemed thankless is now receiving its reward.

Just as the athletes put in hours of training that often goes unrecognized, there is a great support crew at the Canada Games that is helping to make things run smoothly. At the top level, there are the organizers of the Games. From there, each province has a Chef de Mission who is in charge of their provincial team. And each province has a Mission Staff, who serve as a liaison between the Chef and the teams. Most mission staff are assigned a team to work with each week, assisting and supporting the team. As Team Sask’s mental trainer, I am not assigned a specific sport team to work with, and am instead available to work with all the teams as needed.

A typical day for me at the Games looks like this:

My day starts at 8:30am with a mission staff meeting. There is a Team Sask room in our hotel in which we have morning (and evening) meetings. While we eat breakfast, the Chef and Assistant Chef give us updates from their morning meeting with the other Chefs. Each mission staff gives a quick update about what they and their team have been up to. This helps to ensure that everyone has key information for the day.

From there, I typically head out to watch Team Sask and cheer on the athletes. I typically watch three to four different sports a day. This means that I am getting very good at navigating the city and area. On Monday, my fellow mission staff member Briana did an excellent job at driving us around, while I managed the maps and directions. I have a mission staff cell phone and share a car with another mission staff, so I am able to get around and stay in contact with people while I am out. Coaches are also able to get a hold of me if they would like to meet.

Each team also has a mission office downtown, near the Athletes’ Village and services area. At least one person must be in the office from about 7am until 1am. We have a schedule set up to ensure that each person rotates through their duty. I tend to stop there in the afternoon, to pick up mail, check in, and see how everything is going.

My schedule is very flexible, so I am available to meet with coaches and athletes as requested. The Games can be stressful, so I help them deal with pressure, expectations, distractions, disappointments, and anything else that may arise. Usually we will just find a quiet corner to sit and talk, whether it is in the hotel lobby, at the end of a hallway, or in the cafeteria. I thoroughly watching the athletes in action, but I love being able to sit and talk with them about their Games experience. One of the advantages to working in the mission office is that coaches and athletes periodically stop by, so I am able to ask them how their day and competition is going.

I manage to fit a run in at some point in the afternoon, which helps me to maintain my sanity. After that, I’m recharged and ready to go for the evening. This may be taking in more competitions or working the mission staff desk. Last night I was invited to dinner with the curlers, coaches, and families, and it was wonderful to sit and talk with everyone. They are enjoying Halifax and all it has to offer, and gave me some tips for things to do when I have a chance.

At the end of the day, the mission staff tends to gather again at our mission room in the hotel. We talk about how the day has gone, and share a beverage and snack. Some evenings there is a reception. The other night Team Sask hosted a parents’ reception, and tonight we are co-hosting a reception with a couple other teams.

It’s a busy schedule, but I am completely enjoying my first Canada Games experience!

Jamie Lammerding-Experience of the Games

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Hello all,

Time now for my next thrilling athlete blog. We’ve gotten in to our competition now and on Sunday we lost 74-34 to Quebec. Quebec is a tough team, that has lots of players who have been playing together for a long time. They have speed, lots and lots of speed, and height. Quebec is also the number one ranked team in Canada right now after winning the Canadian Junior national tournament in Montreal last April.
On Monday we rebounded to defeat New Brunswick 71-38. It was close in the first quarter, but after we got warmed up we started to pull away. We played very good defense forcing New Brunswick into over 30 turnovers. There were lots of local fans at our game, even sitting directly behind our bench, but after some sweet talking and some high fives I think they were converted to Saskatchewan fans.
Our games continue on Tuesday when we face Alberta in the morning and B.C. in the evening. Both games should be good games to watch so stop by Citadel High if you have time.
That’s it for all of my on court experiences as for off court I’ve already completed my three goals! I got to see Theodore the Tugboat on Saturday, I completed my pin collection of getting one from every province, on Sunday (thanks to some free donations!) and I’ve gotten to know some of the other athletes here. Although, I hope as the week goes on I get to interact with even more athletes!

Jaime Lammerding

Heart

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

“Winning is about heart, not just legs. It’s got to be in the right place.” ~ Lance Armstrong

Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have seen a lot of hearts today. Candy hearts. Chocolate hearts. Cake hearts. Sticker hearts. Hearts on necklaces. Hearts on clothing. But I’ve seen more important hearts than those associated with Valentine’s Day.

I watched Team Sask win their first medals of the Games. The air rifle men’s team won a silver, and the air rifle women’s team won a gold, setting a Canada Games record. Teams in the event are comprised of two shooters, with their scores combined to create a team score. The oldest member on the women’s team is at her second Canada Winter Games. She has trained for an additional four years, recruiting younger team members so that a women’s team could compete at the Games. Her obvious love for and dedication to the sport has transferred to her gold medal teammate, a 12 year old who is expected to continue making a name for herself for years to come.  All the medalists today displayed hearts of champions.

The men’s gymnastics event started today. The gymnasts were focused, prepared, and ready to go. The team looked great, competing at a high level. They are a young team, but came here to do their best. I was beyond impressed at their composure and execution today. Afterwards, many were happy, but one individual was very upset. He fell a few times, twice while doing the parallel bars, and didn’t advance. The disappointment was evident in his face. I talked to him, and he mentioned the falls, and the fact that he fell twice while trying to execute a very easy maneuver. I asked him how the rest of the events had gone, and he told me that other than a couple minor mistakes, he had executed his routines as well or better than he had wanted. As he talked, I could see a realization slowly creep across his face. Sure, he hadn’t executed as well as he wanted to, slipping up twice on an easy skill. But that didn’t mean that his entire experience was a failure. He fought back and performed well, even after falling. He showed heart and toughness, and walked away from that conversation carrying his head higher.

Stories of heart are all around. Athletes are living examples of this resiliency, dedication, passion, and love. They display it in their games, in their competitions, in their races, and in their performances. I am inspired by the stories that I see.

The men's gymnastic team hold posters made for them by the women's gymnastic team.

Breakfast of Champions

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Why not me? Dare to dream and have a vision.” ~ Kay Porter

A year has passed since the 2010 Winter Olympics opened in Vancouver. It was a time of celebration, of pride, of support for fellow Canadians. Flags waved from windows and balconies. People came together to cheer, rejoicing at successes, and sharing the weight of disappointments. Immense spirit spread across the country, taking the nation by storm.

A year later, the Canada Games in Halifax are garnering their own excitement. Cars honk as they pass athletes walking down the street. Stands are full, spectators being turned away from some venues that are sold out. Cheers and chants for the provinces ring out, encouraging the athletes. Even Olympic athletes have arrived to support Canada’s best and future Olympians.

I joined Team Sask men’s gymnastics for breakfast this morning. They were told that a special guest was coming to talk with them. One of the athletes guessed that it was Stephen Harper.  I think I enjoyed the actual guest a bit more… Kyle Shewfelt! For those that don’t know, Kyle won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He also competed in Beijing in 2008, making an incredible return to gymnastics after breaking both legs in a training accident a year earlier. He is in Halifax as an athlete ambassador for AthletesCan, and is meeting with athletes to share his story, support amateur sport, and provide inspiration. Kyle was friendly, interacting with the athletes, and talking about his experiences in gymnastics. The gymnasts were certainly excited as they headed off to training after breakfast!

After an entertaining breakfast, I headed out to watch Team Sask women’s curling before taking in women’s squash. The Games are underway, the excitement is building!

Team Sask Athlete Blog for Canada Games Council

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Hello everyone,

My name is Jaime Lammerding from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I am currently a third year English student at the University of Saskatchewan with hopes to go on to journalism school. I am attending the 2011 Canada Games as an athlete in wheelchair basketball and I have been playing for four years. I also attended the 2007 Canada Games in Whitehorse for wheelchair basketball in only my first year of playing. What might surprise you to know about me is that I am an able-bodied athlete playing wheelchair basketball, meaning I do not require a chair unless I’m on the court. There are actually three able-bodied players on my team. Wheelchair basketball uses a point system, ranging from 0.5 to 4.5 to classify players and teams are only allowed a 15 points total on the floor at a time. Players are classified as different points based on their body functionality; the less body function a player has, the lower their points. Able-bodied, unclassifiable players, like myself, are only allowed to play at a provincial level (ex: for Saskatchewan at the Canada Games), however classifiable can athletes compete at the national level for Team Canada. Currently Canada has a men’s and women’s national team as well as a junior and women’s under-25 team.

At the games this year, myself as well as my team would like to earn a medal, any medal. Off the court I would like to collect a pin from every province, get to know some of my fellow athletes and get a picture with Theodore the Tugboat, one of CBC’s morning kid shows.

Fire and Ice

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

“You can accomplish so much with a strong will. Just do your best. No matter what. Don’t let negative thoughts creep in. Don’t talk yourself out of anything.” ~ Rebecca Twig

The 2011 Canada Games are officially open! The Opening Ceremonies last night kicked off the Games in spectacular style. The athletes, coaches, managers, artists, and mission staff marched into a nearly full stadium to cheers and chants, passing by the Prime Minister, Mi’kmaq First Nation Chief, Premiers, and Ministers, before settling into seats to watch the show. And what a show it was! Entertainers included the Trews, Chantal Kreviazuk, Jimmy Rankin, as well as local entertainment. My personal favourite was Tanya Davis, a spoken word poet who delivered a flowing, rhythmic piece with an inspiring message, telling the athletes to be strong in their bodies as well as their hearts. Unfortunately, Sydney Crosby did not light the torch, as was rumored. Instead, the flame was passed from four representatives of the founders of Nova Scotia (Gaelic, African, Mi’kmak, and Acadian) to paralympic gold medalist in sailing, Paul Tingley. He then passed the flame to the crew of a tall ship training vessel, who light the torch by climbing up ropes resembling the mast of a ship.

The athletes are all eager to begin competition, with long track speed skating, ringette, and men’s hockey all starting today. Both ringette and hockey have games against their Western province rivals of British Columbia and Alberta, respectively, while speed skating is the first sport to award medals.

While the Games atmosphere is full of excitement, at times it may seem busy and overwhelming. In order for the athletes to perform their best, there are a few things that they can do to make sure they are properly prepared. Some mental training tips for success at the Games:

1. Trust your preparation. Your training for the Games has brought you here. You have been putting in hard work, sweat, and effort. Now is the time to put that preparation into action.

2. Trust your plan. Now is not the time to make changes to your routine and what has been working for you. Know the patterns that have allowed you to be successful in the past, and follow those. Having that plan and routine gives you something to focus on during your preparation and competition.

3. Be flexible. Although you have a plan for how things should happen ideally, remember that there are a number of distractions and challenges that may arise. Your bus could be late. You could have poor weather. Planning for this adversity allows you to think through different situations that could occur, and develop a solution ahead of time. Being flexible allows you to respond to these events in a way that enables you to remain focused on your task and your preparation.

4. Focus on the things that you can control. There are several things that are outside of your control, including other competitors, weather, spectators, and officials. Instead of worrying about the things that are outside of your control, focus on what you can control.

5. Believe in yourself. Focus on your strengths and maintain positive thoughts about your ability and capacity to perform your best.

The time is now. Live your dream!