I have a secret. It’s one that I am embarrassed about.
People keep telling me that I should be excited, but I have that voice in my head that tells me that I’m not really worthy of the honour. It really isn't a secret, it's just that I haven't told anyone.
I am going to be a torchbearer for the PanAm games. It was a lucky thing to happen, and I am grateful for the opportunity. And I think my embarrassment comes from the fact that there are so many deserving people who could be part of the games. And me, I’m just a mom who can’t run very far. But I’m excited to be part of what, I hope will be a magical moment, and not an 'embarrassing, fall-on-my face and put out the torch' one.
So the least I can do is get people excited about the PanAm games. Because they are very exciting! The top athletes from 41 countries will be here and they have been working for their entire lives to get to this point. The PanAm games are from July 10 – 26 and the Parapan games are August 7-15.
There are over 7,000 athletes coming and they will all show grit, perseverance and sweat – and most of them will go home without a medal. Aren’t those great lessons to teach our kids?
And behind the athletes, are their families, coaches, therapists who have been cheering them on. There are also the people who have been working to get Toronto ready for the PanAm games. (And yes, I know that traffic is already a nightmare and the HOV lanes are rage-inducing. But I am choosing to focus on the positive.)
One of the positives, is some new facilities, including the Athetes' Village. They are expecting to have 10,000 athletes staying in the Athletes' Village over the course of the PanAm and Parapan games. My son and I went on a tour of the Village and learned some interesting facts such as:
- Olympians galore: The PanAm is a qualifying round for the 2016 Rio games in 15 sports.
- Lots of stuff: 5,400 beds – enough to cover three soccer fields, including 900 bunk beds and 8,500 pillow
- Fun sports to watch like: wakeboarding, roller skating and squash. There is even something called the Modern Pentathlon that shows off the skills of a cavalry officer and includes fencing, swimming, equestrian, running and shooting.
- Revitalized the portlands: The athletes’ village has already transformed a derelict area of downtown Toronto. The new Y is going to be incredible, and the athletes’ homes are going to be converted into mixed income rental and condo housing.
- A small town: The village also have a full-service medical facility on the site, working bank, hair and nail salon (athletes often have amazing nail art!) and a Loblaws.
- Lots of laundry: Maytag donated 400 washer and dryers to the village. And also created the Ultimate Laundry Room for the athletes' convenience and to make sure they look their best on the podium (and hanging out in the village.)
- Dogs for stress relief: There will be 125 therapy dogs available for the athletes to try and help with the tremendous pressure of the games.
- Bunches of bananas: The temporary Dining Hall is the largest restaurant in Toronto and is open 24/7 during the games. They will serve 90,000 bananas, 50,000 portions of steak and 75,000 Litres of ice cream will be served.
Oh to be young and extremely athletic and hang out at the village.
So far we have tickets to see Track and Field, but we gave the kids some options for some other events as well. It should come as no surprise that my teen son suggested Beach Volleyball.
Giveaway: But if you want to be part of the PanAmania as well – I have TWO tickets for Men’s Basketball on July 23 to giveaway to give to ONE reader, thanks to Maytag. I don’t usually do giveaways but this is kind of special!
All you have to do is enter below through the totally the Rafflecopter App. Contest closes on July 5th and the winner will be announced on July 6th. Contest is open to Ontario residents, transportation is not included.