Games will be history in the making
IT might be the biggest sporting event Bermuda has ever hosted.
It terms of participation, it’s unprecedented.
The Island Games, which begin tomorrow with the Opening Ceremony and conclude next Friday, could define all that Bermuda claims to be.
There are some 1,260 participants, dozens of coaches and hundreds of family and friends, flying in.
Here, the place and the people will determine whether the Games will be hailed a success.
No, it’s not the Olympics nor the Pan Am Games.
But this represents a mini-Olympics for athletes from small islands around the world. In Bermuda we’ll welcome 22 of those islands.
Some of these sportsmen/women might be good enough to qualify for these major Games or World Championships, but the vast majority won’t.
This could be their, in the words of Andy Warhol, ‘fifteen minutes of fame’.
And hopefully they’ll enjoy every other minute during their stay in Bermuda.
As shown at the Carifta Games, Bermudian support for not only for our own athletes but for all of those who competed, made a lasting impression.
Don’t be surprised if the Carifta Games return to Bermuda in the not too distant future.
Bermudians can break or make the upcoming festival. We’d like to think it will be a case of the latter.
More than 200 competitors will be representing this Island alone. It’s likely that everyone will know at least one friend, workmate or family member taking part.
Their encouragement may determine how Bermuda stands when the final medal table is compiled.
But these Games aren’t about winning or losing, they’re about everybody having a great time.
As is the case at all major sporting events, during competition there’ll be tears of joy and tears of disappointment.
But there’ll be memories that will last a lifetime.
Thanks to the Herculean work of Games Chairman Jon Beard, these Games are being brought to this country for a first time. The obstacles he’s had to overcome in the last three or four years have been unimaginable.
Yet here we are just a day away from launching this spectacular event.
He and his band or fellow organisers and volunteers — they might even outnumber the competitors — are about put on a show which will make headlines across the globe.
The World Rugby Classic, the Grand Slam of Golf, the International Race Weekend, sailing’s Gold Cup, the Carifta Games have, and continue, to make their mark in terms of international recognition.
The Island Games will strengthen Bermuda’s place on the sporting map.
But it’s up to Bermudians to make it even more prominent.