Over the years, Dan Mellon, a BC Winter Games contributor, has participated as an athlete, coach, and, now volunteer.
Attending his first Games at Revelstoke, Mellon moved on to being the zone representative eight years in a row. As a zone representative, he was in charge of organizing the teams that become the competitors at the Games. Once the job passed to someone else, he continued attending the Games as an official, chaperone, coach, and, eventually, a 2014 volunteer working as security at sport venues and in the registration and results centre.
In all his time with the Winter Games, Mellon has been to Revelstoke, Fernie, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Kitimat, Terrace and Mission.
“I have a drawer full of souvenirs from all of them,” he said. From buttons to photographs, the experienced Winter Games attendant has it all.
“I’ve been to […] many, many games,” said Mellon while fondly remembering past Winter Games experiences, “And it’s always that small town spirit of everybody chipping in that really does it for you.”
He even mentioned a time when citizens went so far as to stand out on their lawns, at night, with signs that bore the words: ‘WELCOME ATHLETES!’
Even the great memories of crowded lawns and welcome signs, however, cannot top the opening ceremonies. Mellon concluded that “the best part of the games is the opening ceremonies, always, because that’s where everybody comes together” and has the speeches, dances, and athlete’s oath, “and the torch bearer comes up and when that torch lights,” he creates a smacking sound for emphasis, the ring of clear, almost boyish excitement entering his voice, “You can feel that excitement go through the crowd […] it’s,” he sighs, a more sentimental tone capturing his voice, “it’s wonderful, really wonderful.”
One of the great parts about the Games, as Mellon points out, is the camaraderie and spirit that all the participants share. He likes seeing the initial coming together of the athletes, most of them having been strangers up until that point. He explained that, after going to the Games for many years, competitors really get to know each other and some “long-lasting friendships” are formed.
A lot of young competitors, according to Mellon, don’t seem to “turn on” until the Winter Games, “but once they’ve come to an event like this, where they get all the focus put on them, […] and they get treated like something special […], it just turns them on to the point where-wow!- and they get really enthusiastic about the sport and go on to do great things after.”
Although Mellon has well exceeded any expectations that the BC Winter Games may have had, he has continued to offer a helping hand, most likely powered by his love for the event, even after many years of service. The devoted character carries with him an evident passion for the Games that is far too strong to fade away any time soon.
– Student journalist Emeralde O’Donnell, Robert Bateman Secondary School