Team Icespire’s own Jamie Gregg recently took a trip to Vancouver to team up with the Odd Squad Police program which provided him and 4 other Olympic athletes an experience they won’t soon forget. Read on for Jamie’s thoughts:
“On Wednesday last week I, along with 4 other Olympians (Cindy Klassen, Christine Nesbitt, Britney Schussler and Jan Hudec), was fortunate enough to be invited by the Odd Squad Police program in Vancouver to walk the streets of the downtown east side and witness what life is like down there. The idea behind the program is for athletes to witness the drug and alcohol problems first hand and then share what they learn with children back in their home cities. At first I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, I have seen a lot of movies involving gang violence and drug use and didn’t know how close to reality they were. Although I was a bit nervous, I knew that we would be accompanied by police officers and so our safety was not in danger.
We walked two blocks from GM place, turned down an alley and right past a dumpster saw two young girls smoking crack cocaine. It happened so quickly into the tour and the girls were so cooperative and willing to talk with us that it almost seemed as though it was staged. But that is the great thing about the Odd Squad; they have found from years of doing these tours that the drug addicts are very willing to share their story in an attempt to stop youngsters from following the path that they took. We talked with Deb and Vicki* for about 10 minutes and I learned many things but there was one part of their life that I personally felt was very important. When asked what they do all day, whether they have hobbies or activities they like, Deb answered that she spends all day just trying to get her next crack rock. We asked what she wants to eventually do with her life and she could not give us an answer.
I feel that a main reason I have been successful in speed skating is that I have always had very clear goals of what I want to accomplish. These goals are written down at the start of the season and I often have them in mind to help me push through extra hard training sessions. These girls smoking crack on the street do not have any goals, they literally just live for their next fix. If there is one thing that I want to impart to kids through Team Icespire it is that you need to keep dreaming. When I first came back to skating in 2006 I had a dream of skating in the Olympics, but it was not very realistic; the more that I trained though, the more that it became possible. Soon that dream was a goal, and by the time the Olympics came I was a legitimate medal contender. It was unbelievable how quickly my dreams became reality once I really put my mind to it!
Dreaming and goal setting is not just limited to sports however; Team Icespire recognizes this and is only using sport as a tool of inspiration because it is what we all chose to do. We want kids to be inspired to follow whatever their passion may be, from music to architecture to sport.
I just want to quickly thank our sport psychologist, Derek Robinson, for setting up this great event for us!”