Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sharing The Dream in Victoria

2 days after Vancouver 2010
It was an early Monday morning for the members of the Sharing the Dream team. We were downtown by 6:30, in order to catch a 7:20 flight to Victoria. Call me a beginner, but the idea of boarding a seaplane was definitely enough to get me excited and out of bed.
Luckily, the flight did not disapoint. A brilliant sunrise hit the horizon as we waved goodbye to our sleepy city.

We landed in Victoria's sunny harbour and caught a shuttle over to the Legislature building, with it's freshly manicured lawn and impressive stone stature. Inside, we were quickly escorted upstairs to film a short segment with the Honourable Margaret McDiarmid, Minister of Education. Like the last two times we met, the minister was very warm and welcoming, even remembering our names as she introduced us to the camera.

From there, we were escorted to a meeting room, where we met our interviewees for the press conference: Lauren Groves, a 2008 Olympic triathlete and London hopeful; Ryan Cochrane, who won bronze for swimming in Beijing and is also a Londong hopeful; Sean Leslie, a CKNW journalist; Hon. Ida Chong, Minister of Sport and Healthy Living; and Deb Whitten, the Vice Principal of Claremont Secondary and a 1992 olympian in field hockey.

We quickly went over introductions and questions, before heading to the conference room. Minister MacDiarmid facilitated the event, and each member of Sharing the Dream asked a question. I asked Ms. Whitten about what the Games meant to her as an educator, and she spoke about the importance of participation over medal winning. "It's not about the triumph, it's about the struggle." She said.

I also asked Lauren Groves about why she thought sport had the power to overstep cultural barriers. She explained how the key values of sport are universal, and that, regardless of race, religion, or nationality, we can all embrace the Olympic ideals.

After the conference, we had the chance to speak with various MLAs and both the ministers. This was a particularly memorable experience. It's not often you find yourself in a casual conversation about the values of sport with two women who need to be addressed with the title "The Honourable" before their names!

We were also lucky enough to get a private tour of the Press Gallery. As an aspiring journalist, it was particularly fascinating to see the cluttered workspace the print journalists work in. It is honestly the most intruiging office I have ever set foot in. It looks like something out of a 1950s movie, where journalists in black fedoras flip their pads of paper open and lick the tip of their pen.

The furniture is old, made of dark wood, and the windows and tall and allow sunlight to pour in. Teetering stacks of paper lean against desks and on top of filing cabinets, the walls are plastered with political cartoons, articles, family photos, and bumper stickers. A can of spam sits on top of one of the dividers, and ties hang off a lamp. When you first walk in, the light overhead has beads draped around it and rolled up newspapers tucked into it. Talk about character.

From there, it was down multiple flights of stairs to see where the radio reporters work. Our guide joked that they'd been banished there after a particular Premier grew tired of their forceful questioning. He spoke about the continous struggle between the press, who always want more access, and politicians, who always want more privacy.

In the cramped basement quarters of the radio reporters, we were continually told "Not to let this office turn you off journalism. It really is a great job." Frankly, though, despite lacking both space and windows, the environment struck me as exciting and dynamic. Like downstairs, the walls were covered in newspaper clippings, the shelves stocked with antiquated radio equipment, the air filled with sarcastic banter.

We regretfully left the legislature to head back to Vancouver around noon. We picked up sandwhiches from a little deli and ate them sitting on the docks at the harbour, soaking in the gorgeous sunshine. It was a beautiful flight home, admiring the islands that dot the Strait of Georgia.

Back in Vancouver, and exhausted after such an eventful morning, we crowded around a table at the office and had a conversation on legacy and our final webcast, which is coming up on Thursday, March 25th. Sleepy as we were, we found the energy to discuss how amazing our Sharing the Dream experience has been, and our hopes for the students in London.

Approaching Vancouver

Please tune in online at http://www.sharingthedream.gov.bc.ca/ on Thursday morning to watch the team's final webcast, as we pass on the torch of Global Citizenship to our peers in London.
The Team

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