My Outlook

A podium for a new Team Canada

            I don't draw. I've shared stories with you of my artistic limitations. I used to say I can't draw, which is still the realty, but I have tried to change how I talk about it. So it has come as a surprise to me that I have an image I can't get out of my head. I wish I could draw it, but my attempt would be so lacking. I am the one nobody in my family chooses to play Pictionary with.

            I love the Olympics. I mean I really, really love the Olympics. The way I structure my life during the 16 days of competition is based upon the schedule of events to ensure I can watch coverage. All of it. I get up at whatever hour the time zone requires to catch live events. Then I watch replays and highlight packages. It's just that big in my life. I already have the Tokyo 2020 Olympic wear, thanks to a Christmas gift from my sister.

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            So here we are, in a very different place than we ever could have imagined and by necessity the summer Olympics have been postponed. It was absolutely the right decision, and as a Canadian I am proud of Team Canada for taking the lead in the conversation.

            We won't be cheering on athletes or hearing any national anthems as Olympic medals are presented. For all those who have worked so hard to get there we can only imagine the heartbreak. But right now I am thinking about the podium those medal winners would have stood on and it might be okay that the podium remains empty of competitors, temporarily. Maybe it means we can put some other people up there. This is why I wish I could draw.

            So picture it, if you can. A podium; not one that is multileveled, but a platform where everybody is positioned at the same height. On one section stands an individual in scrubs. It's a lab tech. Or a researcher. Or someone in laundry service. A doctor, a nurse, a caregiver. A janitor. Someone in food services. Or a first responder. An administrator. A public health official. Every single person who represents a facet of health care systems all across the nation. They are working tirelessly from behind masks and beyond closed doors. They, and they alone, know the stress, the pressure, and the reality of the situation where they are. Gold medal.

            Stepping up on the next section of the podium is an individual in a uniform. Or jeans. Or a suit. The factory worker making what we need. The truck drivers keeping supplies moving. Police officers and firefighters. Store employees. Those running public transport. Childcare workers. Translators and interpreters. Employers looking for ways to keep people on the payroll. So many more keeping the essentials going. Gold medal.

            And then, the third section is left empty. It represents all those who are heeding what we have been implored to do; stay home. That spot on the podium is for you and me and all those who are using our best weapon—staying apart and staying away—so that others can continue doing safely what we desperately need done. Gold medal.

            The time will come when we will again be cheering on our athletes, and the Olympic podium will be put to use next year. But right now we have many others to cheer on, encourage and honor--our new Team Canada. For each and every one of them the unexpected training ground is also the front lines.

            I can't draw it, but I can picture it. A new podium for a new day. This is what Team Canada looks like right now. The team outfit is whatever we each wear to do our part. Our team cheer is an ongoing round of applause for all those doing what needs to be done. Our team motto? So simple in phrasing, so vital in action: "flatten the curve."

            Press on Team Canada. Let's show each other this is not about the medals, but our mettle. That's my outlook.

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