A rainy Friday afternoon in advance of the medal round baseball games does nothing to dampen the spirits of 2017 Canada Summer Games volunteer Dave Walchuk. Not only is Dave passionate about the sport but he is also a Canada Games alumni who is very happy to share his adventures.
Volunteering at Shaw Park is a natural fit because Dave played baseball – right field - for Team Saskatchewan during the 1977 Games in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The team finished 8th and had two members drafted by major league organizations.
“The 1977 Games is something that always stayed with me and it was an exciting moment in my life,” recalls Dave who was born in Manitoba before his family made their way west. “Being 15 years old and the youngest on the team there was a huge learning curve and everything was new. I watched fellow teammates and I learnt about leadership, being open to team concepts, and how to win and lose gracefully.”
The lessons he learned on the field of play and relationships he formed with his teammates and coaches allowed him to forge long and successful careers with Walmart and The Real Canadian Superstore that took his family around the country. He currently owns and operates a Bulk Barn food store in Winnipeg.
“There is lots of alignment between sport and work life. You learn how to manage up to Vice Presidents or towards the grassroots level. You learn how to manage situations.”
A favourite memory of the ’77 Games was shaking hands with the late Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, as the teams entered the outdoor stadium filled with 11,000 cheering fans. The irony is not lost on Dave that 40 years later another Trudeau, son Justin, was also shaking hands (and taking selfies) as the athletes entered Bell MTS Place.
“My wife and I were watching the Opening Ceremony on television and I’ll be honest, I teared up. It brought back a lot of good memories. A lot of people invested a lot of time in me. As a volunteer this is my give back. You can see the passion, the drive, you can relate.”