As I mentioned yesterday and earlier today I planned to attend the pep rally in support of the city's bid for the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games. Despite lacking a sports jersey I grabbed my camera, my iPhone, and my enthusiasm, and headed down to MacDonald Island - and people, what a show we put on for that selection committee.
There are likely those who think that the slogan "Big Spirit" is an ad campaign. I am not one of them. This community has a spirit unlike any city I've ever seen. Maybe it's because we are small and northern. Maybe it's because we are accustomed to the role of "underdog" in some ways. Maybe it's because we get maligned and abused so often in the national and international press. Regardless of why it is we somehow manage to always pull off the most amazing community presence and spirit when the situation calls for it, and today certainly maintained that standard. I strongly suspect we impressed the hell out of the selection committee, and frankly, Wood Buffalo, I'm proud of all of us.
You can't buy "big spirit". You can't force it, you can't bottle it, you can't sell it, and you can't make it up. It's either there or it isn't, and in this city it is most definitely there. I wrote in my previous post about our can-do attitude, and our willingness to attempt things that others wouldn't even try. That's true of so many parts of our community, from businesses to individuals to municipal leaders. We are making a bold move to bid for these games, and it may fail. After today, though, I'm hard pressed to think of a single reason why the selection committee would reject us. In the end, though, even if we don't get the games we have something else. We have Big Spirit, people - in fact, we have the Biggest Spirit. Regardless of our success or failure in attracting these games that spirit is something no one can take away from us - and it's something that just seems to be growing every day. My favourite sign from today? It read "This is our town". Yes. Yes, it is, and I'm damn proud of it, too.