Warning: the video you’re about to view contains scenes of extreme winter fun and athleticism.
You may remember that a little over a year ago, I (Michael) wrote here about bringing more play into my life. Since then, my desire to play has undergone quite the evolution. After I facilitated a few different events over our last SBS school year, it was decided in September that we needed a “task force” responsible for getting our community out to play. This elite team was originally called the “Recreational Task Force” or RTF, but has seen a few name changes along the way; our current acronym is BORF (to be honest, I’m not sure what that stands for anymore!). So far this year, BORF has hosted a movie night under the stars, and a Winter Classic table tennis tournament. Last weekend, however, we hosted our greatest event to date: the YWAM Turner Valley Winter Olympiad. With the Winter Olympics currently on and with eight countries represented on our campus between staff and students, it felt appropriate to have our own event. Much planning and energy went into this five hour event which took place on Saturday.
There were four events of varying difficulty, all of which you saw in the above video. There was the Winter Tennis Ball Golf Long Drive competition, which consisted of standing on a tee box to hit a tennis ball with a golf iron onto a driving range made by packing down lines with snowshoes in a snowy field. Next was the Snowshoe Biathlon; in this event athletes ran from a start point following a track to the half-way mark, where they were handed a pellet gun and could shoot at balloons attached to trees at different distances. Depending on what balloons were hit, the competitors could get time deducted off their final run time. The competitors then completed the course, including a run up a brutal, game-changing hill Our next event was inspired by last year’s super-sledding – it was a Super Sled Jump/Freestyle event. This was the event that produced some scrapes and bruises. Competitors rode the super-sled off a jump, and were awarded points based on style, jump distance, and clean landing. Finally, we had what was likely the favorite event: Milk Jug Curling. This event took place on the frozen river at the back of our property; we found some ice not covered with snow, and with buckets of river water and squeegees, we flooded the ice to create a flat and slippery surface. Athletes were given two milk jugs filled with water. Competitors slid the jugs towards the spray-painted rings several feet away.
Three teams competed individually against each other, then the winners of each event from each group competed in the finals, and were awarded medals based on their performance. These Olympics were opened with a fantastic interpretive dance by the BORF members, and closed with an amazing fireworks display provided by generous friends of our ministry, who also provided a number of novelty gifts for our winners and some honorable mentions.
As we prepared for this event, I had my doubts on how it was going to go. It was a lot of work, and if all four of the BORF members didn’t contribute, there was no way it was going to work. Once again, however, I was reminded of the great pleasure it is to work in a team with my fellow YWAM Turner Valleyans. There was no one person who is responsible for the success of this event, so I want to thank my team members (Jon Monkman, Austin McKinley, and Evan Greenwood), all those who volunteered, everyone who came out to support, and especially all those who participated. I don’t know what BORF will do next, but I feel like we just raised the bar with this one.