Originally published on MH3
If you have ever met my friend Norm O’Reilly, the word “trooper” may not be the first word that comes to mind.
You might start off with passionate, super smart, motivating, dedicated, enthusiastic, kind, super friendly, loyal, tireless, engaging, selfless, considerate, excitable, or maybe just amazing.
Norm is a trooper, and so much more. He’s a leader. He’s a dreamer. He’s a teacher. He is also an unfailing supporter of support and a tireless contributor to the Paralympic movement.
His contribution and commitment to the para movement was rewarded with him being named the Assistant Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. As you read this he is in Rio, alongside Chef de Mission Chantal Petitclerc, helping our Canadian athletes participate in the most important competition of their lives.
The Paralympic Movement has changed dramatically over the past two decades. Country after country has invested much more significantly in building programs, pathways and participation for their para athletes. The result has been a dramatic shift down the podium for Team Canada in terms of results. But while that’s disappointing for us as a sporting nation, it also is a powerful and positive global societal change.
Let’s not leave it all to Chantal and Norm to cheer on our Paralympians. Let’s give them the same, or more, support we gave our Olympians. What was great summer TV, will now be great Fall TV. What makes for great water cooler talk, will make for great coffee chats. What made for social sharing, will be even more exciting.
We can all be ParaTroopers like Norm!