Closing thoughts are positive ones

Kenn Oliver
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Harbour Grace and Carbonear believe they’ve once again ‘raised the bar’ as Games hosts

Mount Pearl/South’s Nicholas Walsh (90) takes the baton from teammate Nathan Bolt during the Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games male 16-and-under 4x100-metre relay at the Carbonear Recreation Complex track Saturday. At left are Central runners Nicholas Harris (10) and Gregory Dyke. Central overcame Mount Pearl in the final leg to win silver. Western took first place. — Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

As the last busses rolled away from St. Francis Field in Harbour Grace following the closing ceremonies for the 2012 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games, co-chair Joey George reflected on what he calls a “tremendous week.”

“I was on the host committee in 1992 with chairman Doug Moores, and at that time, during the closing ceremonies, he said we had raised the bar for all the Games to follow,” says George who was joined by co-chair Milton Peach.

“But I truly believe this has been the best Summer Games ever, that we have raised the bar one more time and those who follow will have a big task to do better than this.”

Down the road in Carbonear, Moores said it’s difficult to compare both Games because there was a greater responsibility in 1992 to create a lasting sports and recreation legacy through the construction of new facilities and the upgrading of existing ones.

“We had to liaise closely with government in those days to upgrade the pool in Carbonear, build baseball fields in Harbour Grace, to upgrade the tennis courts.”

Still, Moores says both organizing committees accomplished what they set out to do.

“We did a great job, they did a great job this year, and it’s really nice to see some of the volunteers from 1992 here in 2012.”

In 1992, David Kennedy was fresh out of high school, and while he was too old to participate in boys’ softball, he volunteered his time around John Goff Fields. This time, Kennedy was the Summer Games director of sports and officials, venues and integration.

As a self-described “sports nut,”  Kennedy’s favourite part of the Games was seeing sportsmanship on display at every venue he visited.

“It was great to see Games where teams weren’t necessarily that competitive but  were still high-fiving each other,” he says.

In some cases, those less-competitive teams represented the Host region. But Kennedy says even with a smaller population base in the Harbou Grace-Carbonear area and thereby fewer athletes to choose from than in 1992, they still represented the region proudly.

“From athletics to boys’ softball to girls soccer, they never medalled but they made great leaps and bounds over the last number of months preparing for the Games. If that’s something we can build on, that’ll be a great success in itself.”

Harbour Grace Mayor Don Coombs, who served as a soccer convener and on-field official during the week, didn’t want the Games to end.

“It’s too bad it’s over,” he says

“Hopefully we don’t have to wait another 20 years, because the facilities are here, the volunteers here and the passion for sport is here.”

koliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter@telykenn

Geographic location: Carbonear, Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and Labrador Harbou Grace-Carbonear

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  • Jack
    August 27, 2012 - 14:16

    While the Newfoundland and Labrador Games (NL Games) are a success, there are alot of problems with it. For starters, there are not enough Special Olympics Athletics and Aquatics events, the games locations are too "Avalon Centric", and some sports are too "Avalon Centric" particularly Softball and Baseball. For future NL Games, the government should take a page out of Special Olympics Canada and Canadian Hockey League and start using a rotational system using the Labrador, Western (North of Rocky Harbour), Western (South of Rocky Harbour), Central, Eastern, and Avalon cycle to give every part of the province an opportunity to host this event, and have more events for Special Olympians to conform with Special Olympics Canada regulations.