Hundreds of medals are getting awarded, which means there will be a lot of chances to cheer this week.
The B.C. Summer Games begin today (July 17) in Nanaimo with opening ceremonies at Rotary Bowl stadium.
After the spectacle comes the sport. Nineteen different sports will be contested in 27 different venues this week, so there will be lots to watch.
Some of the sports are ones that aren’t played every day in Nanaimo, or at least not for high stakes.
The sand volleyball courts at Bowen Park, for example, are always busy on hot days but Games athletes will be diving for the ball with a little extra oomph this week.
“It’s a really fun sport to watch because it’s a quick pace but it’s also kind of mellow, too,” said Mariah St. Pierre, part of the Island zone team. “And you’re out in the sun, so you get a nice day out of it, too, at the beach.”
It’s common enough to see rugby going on up at May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park in the north end, but the B.C. Games will feature rugby sevens, a variation that should prove fan-friendly.
“Sevens is an extremely fast and exciting game. I find it really quite fun and exciting to watch,” said David Wicks, the only Nanaimo player on the zone team.
A lot of sports fans haven’t seen a live wrestling competition, so they might have a chance to see something a little different this week at North Cedar Intermediate School.
Faye Tuck, a former B.C. Games gold medallist who is trying to repeat, acknowledged that some people can find the sport confusing.
“But if you know a little bit about wrestling, a lot of people get really into it, and it’s really neat to see something that you’re not used to,” she said.
Whether they understand the rules, fans will see the physicality.
“Wrestling is just a whole other level,” Tuck said. “By the end of a six-minute match I feel like I’ve run for a couple hours.”
Even the more traditional spectator sports will have a different atmosphere during the Games. The Island baseball team, considered a medal contender, is hoping home field is an advantage.
“I think it will be a good confidence booster for us, having our home fans here,” said Jayden Marsh, a player from Nanaimo.
Other sports at the B.C. Games include basketball, three-on-three basketball, canoeing, kayaking, equestrian, field lacrosse, golf, roller hockey, lacrosse, rowing, sailing, soccer, softball, swimming, synchronized swimming, track and field, towed water sports, triathlon and volleyball.
The B.C. Summer Games opening ceremonies are today (July 17) at 7 p.m. at Rotary Bowl stadium. Closing ceremonies are Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
A sport schedule was published last week in the News Bulletin’s B.C. Summer Games special section and is available online at www.nanaimobulletin.com/eeditions.