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Between the Sheets: Medal Responsibilities

I flew to Toronto a few months back – out from Calgary at 5 pm and back home the next day at 3pm. Quick trip, for a great cause. It was the Microsoft Xbox launch M4M (Mission for Miracles) event. Microsoft was promoting their new “gaming and giving” concept. Gamers can now donate their points for great items and at the same time donated the points to the Children’s Miracle Network across Canada.

Cheryl Bernard at the Microsoft XBox 360 Event (courtesy Kris Abel's Tech Life)

It seemed to make so much sense to me; I was amazed it hadn’t been done before. You are now teaching a generation how to give – to show compassion. Sort of like the old telethon’s that use to be on TV, but now you are accessing a different generation – in their language.

I was so impressed – but then I heard Tobin Haas speak; he is the SickKids Patient Ambassador for the Children’s Miracle network. He is 10 years old and has been dealing with a brain tumor (and recurring tumors) since he was 2 ½ years old. He told us his story – tumor, surgery, chemo, radiation, recurring tumor, more chemo, and more radiation – it was all in an 8 year period. He is an incredibly positive ambassador.

It was at that moment that I understood what this medal could do for others.

It was never meant to be put into a glass case and admired. It was always meant to be shared. To motivate a high school athlete to give just a little more. To instill work ethic.To show a different path to youth involved in drugs. To inspire someone to do more in life. To give hope to a child fighting cancer. To put a smile on a child’s face and a dream in their mind.

You play your entire career for the chance to compete at the Olympics, and then you get that chance and think: “What in the heck have I gotten myself into?” It’s something we don’t think about – we think about winning – but we never think about what our responsibilities are AFTER the win. You don’t realize who you may have inspired; who you may motivate. With winning comes responsibility (or at least I think it does). Where can you lend your name and make a difference? And yes, you can make a difference.

Today my difference was this… for 3 hours of my time, I was able to help an amazing company (Microsoft) promote a concept (M4M) in support of the Children’s Miracle Network. I met the most amazing 10 year old, who reminded this 43 year old to share. To share the silver medal and that it will possibly make a difference somewhere to someone. He also reminded me about perspective, and how important that is to have in your life.

That is our responsibility as athletes and as Olympic medalists.