Wednesday, October 5, 2011

An Ode to Sports Media

On Monday I had the opportunity to attend the 2011 Achievement Awards Presentation Luncheon for Sports Media Canada.  The room was filled with members from every organization involved in sports.  From the UFC to the MLB to the Canadian Olympic Committee, there we sat to pay well deserved homage to the people that tell our stories day in and day out best – sports media! 

As I sat and listened to the various recipients honoured for their work in sports I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of gratitude.  I mean it’s not like I’ve never taken the time before to be grateful for media.  But, in that moment I really, really felt indebted to the world of sports media.

I have blogged about “Angels in the Dugout” referring to the various medical personnel that work behind the scenes to allow us to perform center stage at the Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games or in a Stanley Cup playoff.  But, I’ve also forgotten to include the media - working bees behind the scene. 

It is the media that really brings to life what it is we as athletes do.  Making it relevant and important to the public… I mean I’m only jumping over a bar, or someone is just paddling in the water, or shooting a puck into a net or a ball into a hoop.   It’s not like we are performing brain surgery.  Or maybe we are?  Yes, Sport unifies a nation.  Sport laughs in the face of racism.  Sport teaches us determination and to love that determined, relentless underdog.  And our sports media personnel TELL these stories.

Amateur athletes may seem to have a 4 year life cycle, but the various sports media personnel help to convey another story.  They also cover the years in between and show what it takes to become an Olympian.  We might be an ocean away, competing in a IAAF Diamond League, but we can always depend on a broadcaster like CBC to provide coverage and commentary; or CTV to tweet about a Banana Bread Bake-off between two stick-jumping athletes; or Randy Starkman to deliver continuous coverage of various Olympic athletes or about Mary the barber’s commitment to hockey. 

And so from the bottom of my heart I say a huge thank you to the various sports media personnel’s who have told mine and my fellow athletes’ stories.  I will miss you when I retire.  In this final year, as a world-class athlete, I hope to give you my best story yet.

Keep up the hard writing, commentating, photo-taking and fact checking work.  You are the windows to our pursuit in excellence… showing Sport really does matters!