The FIFA Women’s World Cup is set to start in Winnipeg in a few weeks and the Grey Cup will follow shortly after in November. This is truly an important year for sport in Manitoba.
That’s why our provincial government has declared 2015 to be the Year of Sport in Manitoba.
More than just celebrating these fantastic events, the Year of Sport pays tribute to the role sport plays in who we are as people, community members and Manitobans.
The Year of Sport not only acknowledges the players, but also those who organize sports activities and events. There are many of us across Fort Garry-Riverview who have coached local teams (I always say my time as a hockey coach and convenor prepared me for a life in politics!) but I want to recognize one individual in our community who has made an extraordinary contribution.
I first met Ted Bigelow on an ice-cold Sunday night at the Riverview Community Club. It was during the Club’s weekly "oldtimer" pick-up hockey game. He was easily the most vocal person on the ice and certainly one of the better players, but it was his incredible enthusiasm that caught my attention.
I have since come to know Ted as a great community leader, but it was his role with Sport Manitoba that really impressed me.
Ted is the Chef de Mission for Sport Manitoba, co-ordinating Manitoba’s coaches, athletes, staff and volunteers at inter-provincial athletic competitions, including the recently concluded Canada Winter Games. To talk to Ted about amateur athletics is to learn about how important sports are in helping young people develop character and integrity.
Ted recognizes that our Olympic stars of tomorrow were once young kids having fun at the local community club. He believes that cultivating the whole person, as opposed to just the athlete, is critical to high-performance athletics. Ted regards leadership, teamwork, dedication and commitment as equally important drivers of athletic success.
Guided by these values, Ted has helped to shape two generations of Manitoba’s athletes and is now starting to engage with a third. Ted’s goal has always been to foster a supporting culture where both the team and the individual can thrive.
It’s hard to over-estimate the hours Ted puts into his work with young athletes or the value of the work he has done with them. The experience of succeeding in athletics teaches them to persevere against adversity — not just for themselves, but for a community.
Thanks to Ted for his profound contribution to our athletic community and may all of us enjoy the Year of Sport in Manitoba.