On March 9th, Red Deer athletes will be treated to a night where Red Deer says thanks.
The Sport Council Awards Banquet is set for that evening at the Sheraton.
“They walk into that room with the absolute wow factor that they are being treated royally by the community and celebrating the awards that night,” said Rob Meckling, community and program facilitator at the City of Red Deer. “The sport council goes to great lengths to ensure that the evening is as top quality as it possibly can be so you get that Hollywood atmosphere from the moment you walk in the door of the Sheraton.”
Meckling says it’s all encompassing.
“The Red Deer Community Sports Awards have been going on for several years and have recently, in these last few years, expanded to increase the entire landscape of the sport system here in Red Deer.”
Their goal is simple.
“The celebration each year is to acknowledge all the great work and achievement by those involved in sport here,” said Meckling.
The nominations are in, and now the tough part begins — trying to choose a winner in each of the 14 categories. Meckling says it’s tougher than it looks.
“It’s not an easy thing to do, and I think with the sports council and those involved in this process that they have done a really good job.”
The easiest way to judge is “requesting as much information to support an application when adjudicating it.”
And that’s all the judges can ask for, more information.
Meckling said that even though the awards banquet recognizes the best athletes, almost all youth are given a moment to shine.
“The awards celebrate achievement no matter how big or small from all sports in the community by awarding certificates to athletes under the age of 12, athletes under the age of 15 and to all volunteers. And those are automatic awards that sports just need to supply names to the committee and those people are recognized at the banquet.”
Now most people are honoured to get nominated.
“I think some of the comments that you’d find fairly consistent are the acknowledgement by your piers and your community.”
But we’re talking about competitive athletes — they all want to win.
If you’re one of the nominees and at the end of the night, on the ninth of March, you’re still a nominee, Meckling has advice for you.
“It’s a hard story to tell someone that they didn’t get the highest honour. But I think the most important thing is that they are being recognized within that group of people for having achieved greatness in this past year. And to even be up on that stage as one of the ones nominated in that final three is certainly fantastic.”
And Meckling can give that advice because he’s been on stage as a groomsman, but not the groom.
“I’ve been in that same boat, nominated two years ago for coach of the year, and believe me, sitting there amongst all those people and hearing the great things that other people do, just to sit in that room and be named with those people is an honor in itself.”
Arguably no award is more important than the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The volunteer awards are about unsung heros, but maybe the most forgotten award is the Local Business Contributor award.
“Sport certainly wouldn’t be where it is if it wasn’t for people in the business community that came forward and truly believed in the importance of sport and how it brings community wellness and brings pride into a community.”
Expect pride to be flowing at the Sheraton on March 9th. Tickets for the event are available only at the Red Deer Recreation Centre.