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After a month of getting in some pretty good spring skiing in Canmore and working at getting my body ready for the weight room work this summer I finally took a week off and headed home to Saskatchewan for some down time.

 

Although my time at home was pretty much free of training it was still as busy as ever.

 

I started my time in Saskatchewan by attending a coaching conference that was put on by the CAS (Coaches Association of Saskatchewan). I was slated to the be lunch speaker. It was going to be a pretty simple format. Mike Ciona from CTV Saskatoon would be asking me questions about my career and my experience in Sochi. I am always pretty nervous anytime I have to speak in front of a large group and I quickly got a bit more nervous when I realized that the room was filled with many familiar faces. The nerves showed at the start but slowly I got more comfortable and was able to provide clear honest answers.  It was great to catch up with some people I had not seen in ages.

 

Next on the agenda was an event put on by the Saskatchewan Legislative. It was awesome to meet all the Saskatchewan Olympians and Paralympians and to hear their stories, the most notable probably being Mark Mc Morris the first Canadian medalist of 2014. The event was recognizing all the athletes and coaches that represented Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Team. I learned that while Saskatchewan has only 3% of the Canadian population we made up 7% of the Olympic team!

 

Kicking off the event were remarks by our Premier Brad Wall followed by leader of the opposition Cam Broten. Next was me, what!!!!!!!!!! I knew that I would be giving some remarks but I thought that all the athletes would be giving their thanks for the support we have received throughout our careers. But no, I would be speaking on behalf of the Saskatchewan Olympians and Brittany Hudak would be speaking on behalf of our Paralympians. 

Program from Saskatchewan Legislative event to recognize 2014 Saskatchewan Olympians

Once the event started I had about 10 minutes until I was going to be called up to speak, those were the fastest/slowest minutes of my life. It was the first time that I wasn’t training that I wished I had my heart rate strap on. My heart rate was through the roof. I thought who could be better than a Biathlete at getting their heart rate to drop, no matter it stayed high. I couldn’t believe the level of stress, if I was a fainter or a puker it would have happened then. I took a few last deep breaths and started my remarks, it was only 60 seconds but took more out of me than any race. I was told it was good and when it was over I realized I was happy for the challenge.

It was an awesome event and we received some amazing gifts from the Province and Sask Sport.

Heart racing at 180 beats per minute.

 

 

The first gift was this amazing shadow box frame displaying some photos from Sochi.

 

And even more timely , a pendant necklace to commemorate Sochi 2014. With Mother’s Day only days away it was gifted to my Mom who looked amazing wearing it.  Awesomely it was from a Saskatchewan based company www.hillbergandberk.com

 

The next day we would be visiting some Regina schools. This would be my first ever visit to a school as an Olympian. I would be visiting Sacred Heart Community School. I did my best to bring my Sochi experience and a positive message to the students in attendance. Unfortunately attendance is a problem for Sacred Heart and many of the schools visited by us that day. As I tried to relay my experiences in a manner the kids could relate to but struggled to relate to the obstacles they have every day of their lives. The kids were amazing and I was grateful for their attention.

 

Signing some cards for some amazing kids.

 

 

The next day was a visit to Saskatoon. Today I would be starting the day off with a visit to Pleasant Hill Community School. A detail I forgot to share was that in both Regina and Saskatoon I would have a police escort to the schools. This was awesome because if I was caught up talking to a small group of kids the police officer was chatting up the others. I was gaining momentum and maybe even a little confidence, I got through the presentation without hitting 180 heart beats per minute. The kids at Pleasant Hill had the same struggles as those at Sacret Heart from the day before. I have always felt fortunate for the opportunities I have had but speaking to these schools helped me appreciate the magnitude of the experiences and opportunities I have had. Probably that most reading this blog have had.

 

Next up was a Biathlon Saskatchewan windup. This was going to easy by comparison, these people know Biathlon and get most of my jokes 🙂 I walked everyone through the Olympic men’s relay, what It was like to be there and magnitude of the event and what it meant to be a part of it.

 

While at home one of the most interesting questions I was asked was this. What is it like competing for Saskatchewan and what advantages did it have for you?

After thinking about it for a while my answer was this. No Saskatchewan does not have the facilities of Canmore, Alberta. Whistler, British Columbia or Valcartier, Quebec. But we have many amazing volunteers and amazingly supportive organizations like Sask Ski, Biathlon Sask and Sask Sport that work great together to get athletes the services and support they need. More significantly we weren’t such a big organization that I fell through the cracks. At the age of 19 I decided I was going to train full time for Biathlon and didn’t return to university that Fall. I was going to give everything I could in hopes that I could qualify for the Saskatchewan 2003 Canada Winter Games team. I believe in many provinces I would have been pushed to the side because I was undeveloped and “too old” to be starting a career in a endurance based sport with little to no prior endurance training. However in Saskatchewan my decision to dedicate myself to Biathlon was welcomed with open arms and I received the support needed to progress. We were measuring my personal improvements and not concerned with how I compared to others that had been nordic racing since their preteen years. Before I knew it, I was standing on the podium at those CWG’s when really my focus was to qualify. The following year I was representing Saskatchewan at Canadian Champs and squeaked out another medal, another opportunity I may not have had if I originated from one of the more powerful nordic provinces. I have been building on these experiences ever since and believe they are the foundation for any success I have found since. 

 

The reason I am sharing this is because I want people to realize is that no matter which province, state, city or town you come from there will be advantages to each that another may not have. So find them and use them for as long as you can. 

Legislative Building in Regina

 

Pretending to be the Speaker of the legislative assembly.

 

If you can’t tell already, I love Saskatchewan and Mark McMorris says it perfectly. “I love where I am from and I think it made me what I am today.”

 

alesse online

One Response to “Hometown.”

  1. PATSY PERRAS Says:

    thank you Scott for sharing your experience.your journey is very interesting.