why I love the Olympics

Every time the Olympics rolls around, we hear a near-constant stream of complaints from certain elements of the public.

"They cost too much"

"The athletes are all on drugs"

"It's too commercial"

"It's rigged"

"Our athletes don't win as many medals as China, ergo we suck"

"The sports are all irrelevant"

whatever. You know you've heard them. 

but I LOVE the Olympics.  I love seeing the sheer number of sports that we never see otherwise.  I love knowing that there are people out there training, for years at a time, to win a medal in a sport that most of the world doesn't know exists.  Pentathlon, anyone? 

Secondly, I love Olympians.  I love the stories that come out: like the story of Sarah Attar, one of Saudi Arabia's first female Olympians.  At first, I couldn't understand why any woman would want to compete for a country that has no desire for females to show any sort of independence, but when I read that story I started to understand - that she could inspire girls from her home country that they too could do anything they want.  Despite her last-place finish, she got a standing ovation as she crossed the finish line. 

I cried watching Joannie Rochette skate in the Olympics just 2 days after her mother died.  I felt the support of all of Canada running through her veins as she skated that day.

And to anyone who says that Olympians are all elitist, snobby, or deserving of scorn, I give you Clara Hughes and Carol Huynh.  Clara is possibly my favorite person in the entire world.  I see her positivity, hard work ethic, kindness, and sportsmanship as a huge inspiration.  I don't just want to be like her, I want to be her. Carol is a small-town Olympian who was practically raised by the community of Hazelton.  In a town with so much going against it, so much unemployment, so much addiction, so much poverty, citizens found it in themselves to donate money to help Carol get to the wrestling competitions that helped her to become the competitor she is today.  And Carol inspires the kids in the community to recognize that even they can reach their goals. 

Elite athletes, for the most part, are amazing people.  They have incredible drive, incredible motivation. Talent, in any field, will only get you so far.  The rest is just hard work. It's a lesson that all of us can take home with us.  Likewise, most elite athletes recognize that winning isn't everything.  Sportsmanship, gratitude, camaraderie are also important aspects of sport. Work hard, make lofty goals, respect your peers, give back to the community - all Olympic values, and all lessons that we can learn from these athletes.

Good luck at the Olympics athletes - even if you don't "win", you're a winner in my eyes! 



there are not enough negative adjectives in the world to describe how I felt watching the riots that erupted in Vancouver after Game 7 on Wednesday night. disgusted, angry, sad, disheartened, heartbroken, livid, ashamed, all-of-the-above....

I watched the game from the top of a mountain in an exploration camp. truthfully, I felt that the anticipation of the game was more painful than actually watching it. in the lead up to the game, I was terrified of what would happen if they lost. I couldn't bear to think that after all this time and hard work, we'd be left saying (yet again), "oh well, there's always next year". but when the game started, I just felt calm. and at the end of the second, when it seemed apparent that the canucks would lose, I went outside on the deck, sat in the blazing sunshine and pet the camp dog and came to terms with the impending loss. in reality, it was a glorious night in camp and hockey was just a game. the canucks would play again, we'd all cheer for their wins and aggravate over their losses. life would go on.

so when I finally went back inside and saw what erupted in downtown vancouver, I felt totally sick to my stomach. these were not fans. these were not people that I could possibly know or understand. these were hooligans. these were crazy people. I still can't understand what could possibly come over people to make them torch police cars, assault people trying to protect private property, break windows. I don't understand how these people look in the mirror. I don't understand how they could reach the age of majority and think that this is ok. I just don't understand.

so on behalf of the saner majority, the people of vancouver who I know are mostly decent, the canucks fans who rose up on the internet on facebook and blogs to denounce the violence and identify the thugs, I apologize. I apologize to the world. this is not who we are. this should never be who we are. and if you ever have a chance to come to bc, I'd like to personally guide you to show you that we're better than that. I'll show you all the wonderful things about the city, about the province, and about the country.

if you know anyone who participated in the riot, even if it was just to take a revelrous photo in front of a blazing car, please identify them. you can view photos of the troublemakers on several websites and news outlets, and the Vancouver Police are ready to take whatever information you have. contact them.

the vancouver we all love....


taking the time to be together

So on Friday night, we had our engagement photoshoot here in Smithers with our awesome photographer Sasha Doodson of White Summit Photography. It was so much fun! We decided on an urban shoot because we want our wedding photos to be off in a field somewhere. We started at the train station and cantina (where we got engaged), and bounced around that area until we ended up on Main Street, just after the Canucks won. The whole town was honking up and down the street while we shot photos on the median - crazy!

But apart from being super fun, the photoshoot also brought us closer together in a cool way. We spent a lot of time smooching, cuddling, looking into each others eyes, and just generally being cheezy... and it was so nice! I think in the run of our every day lives, we forget to take the time to just be in the moment with one another, and the photoshoot really gave us that opportunity. I think it was the first time since we actually got engaged that I felt like we were really getting married! Anyway, if you feel like getting in touch with your inner cheese and reconnecting with your partner, I highly recommend a photography session. What a great way to spend a couple of hours!

Sasha took pictures of us taking selfies - here's one of mine:

And here's one of hers: