Opinion

EDITORIAL: Province’s best athletes deserve our attention

Starting today and extending throughout the weekend, some of the province’s top young athletic talents – in 21 different sports – will showcase their skills throughout the city at the Surrey-hosted BC Summer Games.

For some, like former Games’ competitors Ryder Hesjedal (cycling) and Dylan Armstrong (shotput), the event is a jumping-off point to even greater sporting glory – both Hesjedal and Armstrong will represent Canada later this month at the Summer Olympics in London.

But for the majority of the more than 3,800 athletes taking part this weekend, the BC Summer Games will be the apex of their athletic careers – a memory they will carry with them for years to come, whether or not they continue in their chosen sport into their adult years.

As such, these athletes deserve a fitting reception. They deserve to swim, run or play rugby in front of large, cheering crowds. They deserve, for one weekend – if not longer, in an ideal world – our full attention.

Why not, for a few days, make these talented teenagers feel as though they’re at their own Olympics, too?

So far, the BC Games organizers and volunteers are doing their part. The venues are all in tip-top shape – a new beach volleyball court was completed at Semiahmoo Secondary this week, and a new diving board was installed at the South Surrey Indoor Pool, to name but two improvements.

And despite a recent editorial in this newspaper – which wondered aloud why public participation in large, civic events was seemingly on the decline – the Games has had no such issues.

In fact, more than 3,500 volunteers – most from Surrey and the Semiahmoo Peninsula – will help ensure this weekend’s festivities run smoothly. At almost every turn, those attending the Games this weekend will see volunteers, from sport officials and coaches to medical staff to food services personnel.

All have donated countless hours to making sure all the visiting athletes leave Surrey with smiles on their faces, regardless of whether they’ve won medals.

Good on all the volunteers, and good luck to the athletes.

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