Friday, February 19, 2010

Library Staff Complete Their Own Torch Relay

1 country, 25 participants, 106 days, 26,000 kilometres – Go!

In October of last year, 25 library staff members signed up to participate in the Library Services version of the Olympic Torch Relay. The challenge was to convert any physical activity into steps and as a team, to follow the real Olympic Torch across the land portion of its journey across Canada. 26,000 kilometres in 106 days!

Each participant was handed a pair of Olympic red mittens, a pedometer and the encouragement to go ‘swifter, higher, stronger’. We totaled our step counts for walking, cycling, running and climbing stairs. We calculated our minutes of aquasize, swimming, weight lifting and yoga. We tallied dog walks, dancing, grocery shopping and vacuuming. A large map of the relay route was posted as motivation and as a visual representation of our efforts. A record was kept of each person’s activity and the number of steps they contributed. While this might have discouraged some of the non-competitors in our group, in reality it had the opposite effect. We encouraged each other in our physical activities, we discussed what people did in their spare time and admittedly it did generate a little bit of friendly competition.

So, did we manage to finish the relay in time for the opening ceremonies on February 12th? Yes we did, with a few hours to spare. But perhaps the bigger achievement was the sense of community and teamwork that developed as a result of the challenge. And isn’t that what the Olympics are meant to inspire in all of us?

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