Even though it has been cloudy this week, the sun has been shining intangibly in Montréal. Intangibly? Well, perhaps not. A joyous atmosphere has been shining through at the various sites of the Défi sportif AlterGo. Everyone cheers when the athletes perform well, and heat radiates off all the warm human interactions. This hint of summer surrounds every person present. Their reasons for being here vary greatly. The extended community of guides, teachers, athletes, parents, coaches, volunteers, AlterGo partners, athletic ambassadors, spokespersons, and staff members are all committed to the same goal.
“I learned about the Défi sportif AlterGo at school. My dream has always been to participate in a sports event, and it’s coming true today. I definitely want to come back here next year. I like seeing the arena and the full bleachers. The energy and the atmosphere of the event are really exciting,” said William, a 16-year-old ball hockey player and student at Centre académique Fournier in Montréal.
Young people are definitely in the spotlight. Their parents create enough noise in the stands to rattle the windows of the Michel‑Normandin Arena and the multi-sport room of the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex. There is an explosion of cheering for every lap completed, for each goal scored. On the sidelines, young people move about constantly to ensure the events run smoothly. Sixteen-year-old Carla Diaz from André‑Laurendeau High School in Longueuil is volunteering here today.
“Being here is really interesting. It’s something you don’t see every day. It’s really rewarding to volunteer here because it gives you perspective. It helps you see the world outside of your school, where you spend so much of your time. Being here teaches you how to interact with people who have disabilities.”
Wave after wave of students flow into the different sites. The organization, facilities, and entertainment benefit greatly from the unwavering support of the volunteers, who enable athletes with and without disabilities to enjoy an active day.