B.C. Summer Games get ready, get set…

Multi-sport event will be held in Nanaimo from July 17-20.

The Vancouver Island-Central Coast team will try to repeat as winners of the B.C. Summer Games overall medal standings.

The Vancouver Island-Central Coast team will try to repeat as winners of the B.C. Summer Games overall medal standings.

Sometimes Nanaimo hosts some big games and sometimes the city puts on a major tournament. But events like the B.C. Summer Games, don’t come around very often.

From July 17-20, the Harbour City will be sports central as 19 different competitions will be held in the area.

School gyms, sports fields, and even Nanaimo River, Newcastle Channel, Westwood Lake and Long Lake will serve as Games venues. There will be some traditional team sports like baseball, basketball and soccer, some individual sports such as track and field and triathlon, extreme sports like wakeboarding, and many others.

“It’ll be an interesting experience for a lot of people to be involved in a large, multi-sport Games like that,” said Bruce Hunter, vice-president of the Nanaimo Games. “It’s almost like a mini Olympics.”

The youths participating in the B.C. Summer Games are bantam- and midget-aged athletes. By this stage of their sports careers, they’ve played in a lot of different tournaments and competed at a lot of major meets. But probably not ones with a torch, a podium, and opening and closing ceremonies.

“It’s really the first time that they compete in a multi-sport event, so it’s a totally different environment and atmosphere for them,” said Stephen Epp, volleyball coach. “When they get to the opening ceremonies, they’ll realize that it’s not just another tournament – it’s a unique opportunity.”

The 2,500 athletes who will gather in Nanaimo represent the best in the province at their chosen sport. Over the years, the youths have tried out for a lot of teams and made a lot of teams. There was a little more on the line this time, though, for teens trying to earn their place in their hometown Games.

“I thought about it a lot, actually, because I really wanted to make this team,” said Jayden Marsh, baseball player. “I thought it would be quite fun to play in the B.C. Summer Games.”

His teammate Dylan Kirby said it meant a lot to be chosen for the Games.

“I’ve had friends that have partipated in it and said it was a lot of fun,” Kirby said. “It’s going to be cool. “You’re going to meet people from different sports and different parts of B.C.”

Alex Hurren, lacrosse player, felt like he had to give it a shot, and he’s excited he made it.

“It’s kind of like a once-in-a-lifetime experience…” he said. “It’s definitely going to be a good time – the whole Games, as an experience.”