Firefighter hoping to throw a hammer
Highland Games: High Rivers David Roe has missed training due to flood
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 06:00 am
A High River athlete likely won’t be competing in the Foothills Highland Games this weekend because he’s been carrying a heavy load for the past two months.
David Roe, the heavy games co-ordinator for the Games, may have to pull out of the competition as the High River firefighter has had next to no practice since the June 20 flood, which devastated the community 22 kilometres south of Okotoks.
“I have been competing for 13 years — that might be another reason I don’t want to throw,” said Roe a captain with the department. “2013 has just been a bad year — 13 might be just bad luck.”
Roe and the other 13,000-plus residents of High River had their lives turned upside down on June 20 when flooding overwhelmed the scenic community along the Highwood River.
Roe faced a double whammy. Not only did his home suffer sewage damage, it was also his job to serve and protect the community.
“On June 20, I worked for 36 hours and then I had two hours sleep — I then worked for another 21 hours,” he said.
“That type of schedule maintained itself for the entire week.”
Roe was helping the community with the flood, while dealing with sewage in his own basement.
“We had sewer back up and I consider myself lucky compared to others who had much, much worse damage,” Roe said.
However, dealing with flood and home meant he has competed in as many heavy games this year as Peewee Herman and Woody Allen.
The heavy games season starts in late May, but due to Roe’s work schedule he wasn’t able to compete.
After June 20, there wasn’t a chance.
“I started training in April but due to my work schedule I wasn’t able to get to the competitions in May and early June,” Roe said. “Then the flood happened. Usually by this time I have competed six or seven times. I haven’t done any.”
He was able to practice for the first time since the flood last week.
There’s nothing like flipping a caber and throwing a heavy hammer to get the competitive juices going.
“I was able to go out and practice throwing last week and I still threw out some pretty respectable numbers and I wasn’t dying the next day,” he said.
“I hope to practice once more this week and maybe compete at the games on Saturday.”
He knows from experience it’s not a bright idea to compete without sufficient training.
“What worries me is last year I didn’t have as much time to practice before the Games as I wanted,” he said. “I ended up separating my ribs and pulling an abdominal muscle. It was very painful for about a month and a half.”
Roe has won more than the odd event at the Foothills Highland Games and whether he is heaving a heavy stone or not, he plans to watch some of the best Scottish heavy games athletes in the province compete.
He said the word was put out to the Alberta Scottish Athletic Association the Foothills Games was a go despite the massive flooding of June 20. The response has been strong.
The heavy games will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday and will run for most of the day. There is also a children’s event at noon.
For more information go to www.foothillshighlandgames.com