Submitted by Sarah Newton.
If you ask parents why they enrol their children in sports you will invariably hear parents extoll the benefits of sport as: fitness, friendship, fun, sportsmanship, and a way to building character.
Unfortunately, sometimes these good intentions can run amok. All too often kids are soon suffering from anxiety and/or depression as they are rushed from practice to practice, and as families are stressed out from lack of sleep, an overfull schedule, and financial burden. This weekend the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club hosted a race that defied these ever-increasing woes of youth sports in North America. The 2018 Teck BC Midget Championships had the feel of a cross country ski carnival instead of a race.
Over 200 young skiers from across BC and Washington took part in the two-day race series on the March 3/4 weekend. It was truly heartwarming to see kids full of joy and anticipation as they greeted friends from other clubs and took part in the races and festivities offered. While there was certainly a competitive element to the events, there were many core values instilled that parents strive to attain for their children:
-Sportsmanship: athletes congratulated their competitors, skiers ran to the sidelines to cheer their teammates, winners were quick to invite the other medallists to the top of the podium with them, and kids nominated skiers who showed grit and perseverance for the much-coveted tough cookie medals.
-A focus on quality over quantity: there were a total of ten technique awards given out over the weekend to skiers. Winners were often not the skiers on the podium, they were the ones who showed excellent technique in skate and classic disciplines. Technique judges from a variety of clubs observed all skiers during the course of the weekend.
-Fun/Friendship: Impromptu dances broke out near the finish line, ski jumping was a popular way to pass the time when not racing, not to mention the giant snowball fight that seems to be an annual event at Midget Championships. A highlight for parents and kids was the banquet at RMR, where a gondola ride, slide show, great food, trivia contest, and time to hang out with friends were enjoyed.
-Character building/Fitness: cross country skiing is no walk in the park. It is the most demanding aerobic sports that children take part in. Courses at Midgets were no exception; they were hilly and technical, yet all skiers finished each race they entered even though there were a few falls, collisions, equipment mishaps, and skiers pushed past the point of discomfort.
The community of Revelstoke can be proud of the event this past weekend, not only did everyone have fun, but our own 23 skiers put out a great effort. We also had almost a hundred volunteers who showed the out of town visitors a fabulous time. Many volunteers who didn’t have children racing came out of the woodwork to be timers, parking attendants, concession workers, and course marshals. Smiles were wide and found everywhere. At one point there were over 400 fans and volunteers lining the course to watch the sprint finals; the volume of cheering made regular conversation impossible.
Cross country skiing is growing across BC, with Revelstoke among the leaders when comparing new members in our local club, and the number of skiers coming from afar to take part in our races. Lucky locals: I invite you to come out and join us at Revelstoke Nordic and discover the fastest way to get fit and the slowest way to empty your pocketbook.
Full results from the weekend can be found here.