This September, 550 athletes and 17 nations, including our very own Art Lead Dave Desjardins, came together in Toronto to compete in the 3rd Invictus Games. Dave competed with Team Canada both as a member of the wheelchair basketball team and in seated throwing events. Here, Dave shares some images and thoughts about his Invictus experience.
“To compete on that level on an international stage with athletes from other countries who love the sport as much as you do, it’s a once in a lifetime thing. There was just this crazy energy. The crowd just exploded every time we went into a place. A real highlight for me was seeing the support in Canada and around the world. It was just awesome.”
“The games throw a bunch of strangers together and you form a family again. I feel like I’ve built life-long friendships with both team members and competitors from other countries. That’s something you miss when you leave the military – that sense of being part of a team.”
Dave describes being “shocked” when he was selected for Team Canada, and especially as team mentor.
“I’d been playing for about 4 years, but never thought I’d be selected to play at that level. It’s like applying for the Olympics and getting an email saying sure, come on out.”
“This experience really pushes you to exceed your own preconceived limits, move out of your own comfort zone. When a person suffers from a psychological or physical injury, it’s easy to shut yourself inside and just withdraw. For me, sport has been transformative.”
“The sportsmanship is a great part of this event. The camaraderie and spirit between teams really comes through. It’s a super competitive game, but at the end of the day, it’s about having fun.”
Dave got his own taste of celebrity before and during the games, meeting a lot of high profile people and doing more press interviews that he would have liked. But he didn’t get the chance to meet Springsteen. “That’s someone I would have loved to have met. But it was great to see him perform anyway.”