When Opportunity Knocks: Friesen's Gap Year With The Canada Summer Games
Winnipeg is set to officially welcome the 2017 Canada Summer Games this Friday when the eyes of the country will be focused on the Bell MTS Place. Behind the scenes, CMU student-athlete Thomas Friesen has been quietly making his mark on this high profile national event.
The Communications and Media major had just completed his fourth year of study at CMU and had plans to return for his final year of university sports eligibility as both a Men's Volleyball libero and Men's Soccer goalkeeper, when the Canada Summer Games came calling.
"Out of the blue I received a phone call from a Sport Manitoba Director requesting that I meet with them to talk about my candidacy for a position on the Canada Summer Games staff", said Friesen who had just spent the summer of 2016 working at Sport Manitoba with another one of his sport passions; golf.
"The decision was one of the toughest, if not the toughest decision I have ever made," he said, "I realized that this was the only chance I will get to work at an event like this and knowing that we would have so many of my teammates still eligibile to return in 2017 definitely helped my decision too!"
Now, after nearly 12 months of ironing out every possible hiccup and detail, Friesen is ready to oversee the events of volleyball, basketball, golf and triathlon as one of five Canada Summer Games Sport and Venue Coordinators and also was the creative force behind all the public address announcing, script writing and music.
"We are all beyond excited - maybe even a little nervous - but mostly excited to watch all our plans come to life", he added, "I've learned a ton about myself, and how to work in a fast-paced, always-changing, work environment. We constantly need to adapt to new volunteers and changes of plans and it all happens to be under the microscope of the country."
TSN is the national broadcaster of the 2017 Canada Summer Games, including Friday's Opening Ceremonies. Visit http://www.tsn.ca/canada-games for more information on the broadcast schedule.
The next seven weeks cannot come quickly enough for the soon to be career leader for most games played by a CMU student-athlete. "The guys on my teams were awesome at keeping me in the loop and welcoming me into a few practices last year, but I am incredibly excited to wear green and gold again for my fifth and final year." Friesen will pass Athletics Program Assistant Josh Ewert this season for most career games played as a CMU Blazer in the MCAC. Ewert played five seasons with the Men's Volleyball team and three seasons with the Men's Hockey team from 2007 to 2012.