A group of field lacrosse players sprint and pass, abruptly cut, and fire shots on goal at the Royal Bay secondary all-season soccer pitch, under the direction of Brian Spaven.
The crew is the Zone 6 (Vancouver Island-Central Coast) team and they’re practising for the B.C. Summer Games, set for July 21 to 24 in Abbotsford.
View Royal resident Alex Cordero, a former golf pro who competed in the B.C. Games in the early 80s in tennis, is today watching his son Seve, a left side attacker, work through the drills.
It’s a bit of a flashback for Cordero, who recalled from his Games experience the dorm accommodations, the camaraderie, the competition and that it helped him become a more well-rounded athlete.
One of the biggest lessons, he said, was that “winning was not as important as competing, and that’s what I remember – I don’t even know what place I came in.”
Local Games athletes, parents and coaches sat through a Guide to the Games session at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) on Monday to hear what they can expect from the Games experience.
Former Canadian Olympic cyclist Kurt Innes and B.C. Games Society event manager Andrew Pitre took the group through everything from transportation and recommendations about food and liquids intake, to managing the challenges and distractions of being part of a multi-sport, co-ed competition modelled after the Olympic Games.
They touched on setting individual and team goals, but also stressed that the goal of the event is for everyone to enjoy the experience and make it a special life memory, as it is for Cordero, whose son and wife attended the event.
“Whether you win or lose, the important thing is about growing,” he said. “A lot of time there is too much emphasis on winning and if you lose, there’s not enough emphasis on what you can learn from losing.”
The B.C. Games will have more than 3,000 athletes competing in 18 sports in total. Of those, more 40 hail from the five West Shore communities and they’ll compete in 11 separate sports.
Seve Cordero, 14, is dedicated to his sport. Besides qualifying for the Island’s field lacrosse team, the Victoria Titans field player made the cut for the under-15 Team B.C. heading to nationals this summer – and he’s a member of the Victoria-Esquimalt association in box lacrosse.
And how’s he feeling about his upcoming Games experience?
“I’m pumped,” he said.
Asked if he has a preference between the field game and the box version of lacrosse, he said, “I like them both. I like box because it’s faster-paced, but field is much more wide open.”
Playing alongside athletes he has both played with and against offers a great opportunity to get to know people better, he added. And that closeness makes for a tight unit on the field of play.
“(I’m feeling) real confidence that we can win,” he said of the team’s prospects.
Other West Shore residents on the Zone 6 field lacrosse team include Casey Wilson and Matt Atkinson of Langford, Brodie Strugnell and Jacob Mellish from Metchosin. They’re joined by Juan de Fuca midget Whalers standout Isaac Swan from Sooke, among others.
Spaven has coached Island teams at the Summer Games in field and box lacrosse and sees a common dynamic. He, too, appreciates how players from up Island and the three competing Greater Victoria box associations are bonding. “You’ve got kids who have played battles on the box court, but they’re developing that friendly relationship, they’re coming together as a team,” he said.
In the print and online editions leading up to the Games, the Gazette will feature West Shore athletes and others participating in Abbotsford. For more details, visit bcgames.org.