The 2019 Canada Winter Games had their upsets.
Among them was the underdog 2-1 win by Alberta over Quebec in female hockey, which was part of a record-setting 100-medal performance by our province.
Every athlete who participated in the games, whether they won a medal or not, had prepared for years for the competition. The preparation involved a tremendous amount of dedication, all in hopes of a favourable result.
The same is true of our city and its hundreds of volunteers. It was in 2014 when Red Deer was awarded the winter games. Great effort was put into winning the bid, and even more work was put into staging the spectacle itself.
It’s a feat that must be acknowledged by every Red Deerian.
What Canada witnessed was a rare uniting of the nation. Canada, God bless it, may be diverse, but it shares unwavering common values.
The gathering of athletes from across the country, all striving to better one another, while at the same time applauding each other’s achievements, is an inspiring occasion.
Canada needs more of that. Too often, we’re a privileged, self-absorbed nation that focuses on its differences, rather than what binds us together.
And Red Deer needs to take that to heart, too. It’s no exaggeration to say that the winter games, years in the making, transformed the region.
The confidence and abilities of our citizens were always there, as proven in the past, but the games are further proof of the imagination, dedication and resilience of those who call the area home.
Landmarks such as the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre are testament to the legacy. They’ll persevere long after the recent departure of athletes and help nurture the ambitions and spirits of Red Deerians and visitors for decades to come.
The internal fortitude can’t be considered a legacy of the games, but rather proof of it. The tremendous character of central Alberta, and grit, was embodied in the winter games.
Red Deer will harness the same determination to ensure needed long-overdue improvements are made to our hospital. The city will also celebrate the maturation of our college into a university. Let’s hope it’s called Red Deer University rather than some anemic substitute.
Residents will also ensure that those among us who struggle, through misfortune or addiction, are offered a hand up. That’s what Red Deer has always done.
The city can be proud of what it’s achieved with the winter games. Equally successful days await the community.
David Marsden is managing editor of the Red Deer Advocate.