This past weekend I was thrilled to be able to honour my father for 40 years with Canadian Highland Games. My dad was a Heavy Events athlete (and is now a field judge for the heavy events and a drum Major for the YR Police Pipe & Drum Band) who helped bring competitive Heavy Athletics to Canada.
In 1966 he attended the Fergus Scottish Festival with his Tug O War Team (Metro Toronto Police Force). He saw an American doing a demonstration of various Heavy Events. He was intrigued (and albeit "cocky") and went up to this athlete and said something like "Hey, that doesn't look so hard. I bet I can do that!" And of course he couldn't. He told that athlete that he would be back the following year and he would challenge him to a little competition. And that is how it started. In 1977 Wide World of Sports became interested in the sport which added "fuel" the fire for more games, it brought out more athletes and the sport grew. In 1986, my dad was approached by the people at EXPO 86 (in Vancouver that year) to help gather and judge Heavy Athletes around the world to showcase this growing sport. After that, it all took off. Today you can find a Highland Games somewhere in Ontario ( and country wide) every weekend. Many of these Ontario Games have my dad to thank in helping organize Heavy Athletics at their venues: Georgetown, Barrie, Kincardine, Brantford, Maxville, Cambridge, Chatham, Sarnia, etc etc etc. He certainly didn't do this himself but, as one athlete describes it, he is a Grandfather of the sport in Canada.
I presented my dad with a scrapbook of thoughts and congratulations from many of the athletes he has worked with over the past 40 years... He was moved to tears (well, almost. :) He was speechless which, if you know my dad, says a boat load!!) I presented it to him during the Saturday Closing Ceremonies at the Uxbridge Highland Games with the help of his band (who played a little "ditty" in his honour - see pic) Later that evening, the Canadian Scottish Athletic Association presented my Dad with the "Highlander of the Year" Award . This is the first ever award of its kind in Canada presented by the newly formed Association (yes, my father is one of the National Advisors for this group). He was surprised and caught unaware... Needless to say he was moved to be recognized for his contributions by his Heavy Athletics Peers and looks forward to promoting and officiating at many more games to come!! Congratulations Dad!!
On a business note: This weekend was also the CHA Summer Show in Chicago. I have heard many things from my sponsors about new products and classes that they took! Look forward to some new paper lines - Cosmo Cricket was popular, as was a new line by My Minds Eye (Bohemia) Can't wait to see it in the stores in a couple of weeks!