NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR WINTER GAMES
Late Tuesday evening, Grand Falls-Windsor bid farewell to nearly 700 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games athletes.
But mere hours after waving goodbye to that group of youngsters, the community was putting out the welcome mat, as 661 other athletes arrived for the second half of the Games.
Wednesday was turnaround day at the 2010 Games, with athletes in wrestling, badminton, girls' hockey, table tennis, basketball and curling arriving en masse in the afternoon.
"It's a busy four hours," Games manager Brian Casey said Wednesday as he helped co-ordinate the athletes' arrival at Exploits Valley Intermediate School.
"We have to ensure all the teams and coaches know where they've got to go, when they have to be there, getting them registered and scheduled."
The day wasn't without some activity. Girls' hockey got underway at Joe Byrne Stadium, while wrestling weigh-ins took place later in the day.
Casey said the first half of the Games went off "exceptionally well."
"It's funny, there are two lives," he said. "One is all the planning and preparation you have to put in place, but it seems once the schedule starts and the kids start competing, it takes on a life of its own. The biggest thing for us is monitoring it and making sure we're on time with transportation and scheduling."
Before letting first-half athletes and coaches out of town, organizers got their feedback on all facets of the Games.
"It's healthy if athletes or coaches feel we can improve in a certain area, because it certainly helps in the second half," said Casey, who says one area he and his team is looking to improve upon through the second half is in giving athletes more to do in their downtime.
There is a "floating bus" for transportation from the athletes villages - girls are housed at Exploits Valley Intermediate and the boys at Exploits Valley High - for athletes when they are not competing, but it makes a 24-kilometre round trip and as accommodations committee chair Roy Oldford explained, "if they miss it, they might not able to get to the mall or to the stadium or gym to watch a game."
As such, there have been adjustments and additions at both athletes villages.
"If they're not out around, they want to something to do in the schools," said Oldford. "We tried to provide them with an area where they go online, check results, and also provide them with some TVs and games, just to occupy their time beyond the classrooms (where they sleep) and competing."
The Games' committee also avoided a potential disaster by recognizing a need for additional shower facilities to look after the needs of the 657 boys and 693 girls who will compete in the Games this week.
"We've got a base of showers on a portable flatbed down at the high school, courtesy of the town of Grand Falls-Windsor. So there's eight showers there and five in the schools," Oldford explained.
"For (Exploits Valley Intermediate), we opened up the old Grand Falls Academy across the way."
Second-half competition begins fully this morning, with championship rounds and games in all sports on Saturday morning before a 3 p.m. closing ceremony.
And Casey is hopeful fans keep turning out with the same enthusiasm.
"It was great to see the excitement in all the venues. It created a real positive buzz in the community."
At the conclusion of the first half of the Games
Region G S B Total
Western 10 8 6 24
St. John's/North 5 4 4 13
Mount Pearl/South 4 2 6 12
Avalon 3 2 3 8
Host 2 3 1 6
Central 2 2 2 6
Labrador 0 2 3 5
Eastern 0 3 1 4
St-Pierre-Miquelon 0 0 0 0
St. John's/North: St. John's and north to Cape St. Francis, Bell Island, Torbay, Portugal Cove-St. Philips and Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove
Mount Pearl/South: Mount Pearl, Paradise, and all communities on the Southern Shore from Bay Bulls to Trepassey inclusive
Avalon: generally, all communities on the Avalon Peninsula and Isthmus of Avalon which are not included in the St. John's/North and Mount Pearl/South regions, up to and including Arnold's Cove. This includes Conception Bay South to Holyrood; the Conception Bay north shore (Conception Harbour to Grates Cove); the Trinity shore (Old Perlican to Blaketown) and up to Arnold's Cove; the areas surrounding Long Harbour, Whitbourne, and Placentia; the Cape Shore and St. Mary's Bay up to but excluding Trepassey.)
Eastern: (northwest but excluding Arnold's Cove, including the Bonavista Peninsula, the Burin Peninsula west to Pool's Cove inclusive; Clarenville and northeast to Gambo but not including Gambo)
Central: Gambo and west to Hampden, north to Notre Dame Bay and south to the south coast. This includes Bonavista North (Hare Bay, Wesleyville, Musgrave Harbour, Gander Bay); Gander; Fogo Island; Twillingate, Lewisporte; Botwood; Bishop's Falls; Harbour Breton; west of Harbour Breton to include FranÇois; east of Harbour Breton to (but exclusive of) Pool's Cove; Springdale and the Baie Verte Peninsula south to Hampden
Western: west of Hampden, including the Northern Peninsula, and all communities west of FranÇois
Labrador: all parts of Labrador
St-Pierre et Miquelon: all parts of St-Pierre et Miquelon