Commonwealth Games Blogs

Celebrate Sports Day in Canada with me

A new Canadian tradition will begin on Saturday. It's a chance for Canadians of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate together throught one of the world's favourite pastimes: sports!

Sports Day in Canada is the brainchild of three organizations that have come together to support all levels of sport, from the grassroots beginner all the way up to the Olympic medallist. The CBC, TrueSport and ParticipACTION have joined forces to help communities recognize the power of sport and how it supports healthy lifestyles, builds social bonds and strengthens our national spirit.

"The most important things I've learned in life, I learned on the badminton court"

When I decided to use that line as the header on my website, my friends took turns making fun. "That's too cheesy, you don't mean that," said one. "That's an exaggeration," said another. But neither of them are very involved with sports. If they were, they'd know that it's 100 per cent true.

I absolutely believe that the sporting arena - whether you're on a soccer pitch, a hockey rink or a badminton court - is a microcosm of life. In sport, you face challenges, you break through barriers, you persevere when things get tough. You succeed. You fail.

There are so many amazing benefits of participating in sport at any level that there's no way I could list them all.  

How I'll be celebrating

When North Vancouver's recreation and community services coordinator Tom Walker asked if I'd be the athlete rep for the Sports Day celebrations in my hometown, I didn't even flinch. "I'm in," I said.

Participating in these sort of community events is really important to me because it's at these events that dreams are born deep inside the hearts of our future champions. It's here where kids can first fall in love with sport, or gain the courage and confidence to try something new. These events can also be a turning point for adults, who may dare to have some fun and reap the healthy physical and mental benefits.

I'll be joining thousands of fellow Canadians across the country to celebrate the inaugural Sports Day. After I'm done some early morning badminton training (I'm leaving for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in less than a fortnight, don't forget) I'll be heading to the Sports Day celebration in North Vancouver.

The event centres around a free open house for all ages, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Grant Connell Tennis Centre (280 Lloyd Avenue). This will be a "one-stop shop" for guests to connect with local sport organizations and try out some less-focused-on but still very popular Canadian sports, like badminton.

Over 40 clubs and associations will be on hand to meet and greet prospective new participants, and guests will even get a chance to challenge some experts. I'll be there from noon to 3 p.m. taking on challengers and manning the Black Knight Trainer machine, which is badminton's equivalent of the tennis ball machine. Kids and adults will be invited to take a swing against the machine and see how many shuttles they can hit back.

There'll be other stuff going on as well, such as a value-priced equipment sale that will raise funds and awareness for a great organization called KidSport, which helps kids from lower-income families get the chance to play. The sale also allows budget-conscious families access to quality sports equipment.

So... Happy Sports Day, everyone!