This past week was a big one for us. With only a few weeks between the end of World Cup 2 and our departure for Asia and the next World Cups, we need to take full advantage of our time at home to put in some big training. And we have. Laps on laps on laps was the theme of the week.
Personally, I always like these types of weeks. It gives lots of time to work on technique while the pace isn’t too quick. I also get to experience one of my favourite feelings in sport. I’m talking about that moment when your lungs are burning and your legs are screaming but somehow you fall into a rhythm and it seems like you could keep going forever. Which you can’t, obviously, but you just keep ticking off the laps and making the coach’s lap times until the set is over. Its an amazing feeling, and an addictive one.
At the end of the week, following one of those days that I was talking about above, we (the national team) had the fortune of participating in a great event with some future Canadian short track speed skating stars thanks to Samsung Canada and their Hope for Children program. Samsung ran a contest that gave winners the oppourtunity to come out and skate with us for the day. All of the kids were super excited and ready to learn and meet us, and we were pumped to hang out with them and pass on some pointers.
It was a lot of fun and I even got to get on the microphone and announced a relay race between some skaters, media and special guests. I think I did alright, but only thanks to years of listening to Dany Lemay, short track announcer extraordinaire!
I ended the week by attending Montreal’s Remembrance Day service. I have always considered it very important to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony, or at least observe a moment of silence in honour of all those who have put their lives on the line for what we all value so much and so often take for granted. The majority of the years, it seems I have been on the ice for 11am and we have had to observe our moment of silence on the ice. But this year, with the 11th falling on a sunday, our day off, I was able to make it down to the service.
While it is obviously very important to continue to remember our veterans, especially as we continue to lose veterans of wars past to father time each and every year, I had a new realization this year. While I have attended Remembrance Day ceremonies in both Yellowknife and Calgary, I have never attended one with a real, live, 21 gun salute. The spot we were standing at was maybe 50m away from the artillery pieces that were performing the salute and it gave me a new perspective on war that I had not, and hope not, to experience. The shear noise, violence and concussion of a shell being fired was something to experience. The whole crowd jumped each time, kids were crying and many were seen covering their ears. And this was only from a blank shell being fired. No explosion of the shell, no damage, no fire, no death. I can only imagine what an hours long barrage feels like going off and the damage and fear it rains down on those on the receiving end. It was a true eye opener for me, and not having to experience this in my life is just one more reason on top of many to be thankful for those that have served our country.