This weekend’s Acadian Games were no ordinary sporting event for young athletes, as French culture made its grand entrance into Truro.
“It’s just such a moment of joy and happiness, we get to be proud of our culture and who we are,” said Emalla Desgagné, an 11-year-old handball player with École acadienne de Truro.
Her team won their game 10-7 against Sydney on May 17, after losing an earlier match against Halifax. Desgagné’s coach Chad Carrington said the team melded well in their second match of the night and skills-wise kept it “absolutely basic.”
Despite not being francophone himself, Carrington still felt the Acadian pride on display at the games.
“My wife is, and that means my kids are and then my whole extended family,” said Carrington. “It’s a great tradition to show the Acadians of Truro and there’s quite a large group,” said Carrington.
The Acadian Games launched in Truro on May 17 and brought roughly 900 athletes to Nova Scotia.
After the Friday opening ceremony at Truro’s Cougar Dome, athletes competed in tournaments throughout the weekend. Games including soccer, volleyball, badminton, tennis, handball, mountain biking, improvisation games and Ultimate Frisbee were held at venues around Truro. Track and field events were held on May 11 in Dartmouth.
The École acadienne athletes performed well throughout the games, scoring an 11-0 victory against their Richmond opponents in the knockout stages of the soccer matches on May 18.
“It’s really grown in the past years,” said team co-captain Lucy Fulmore of local francophone culture. “We played really well and we got a lot of shots on goal.”
Richmond player Madison MacDonald did not want to talk about her team’s disappointing results, but she shared Fulmore’s enthusiasm for the Nova Scotian French resurgence, on display at the Acadian Games.
“It’s nice to be able to see other people who are also like us,” said MacDonald, when asked about the importance of francophone sports. “I feel like it’s very important. It’s part of our culture and it’s pretty important.”
Organizers in Truro earlier likened the Acadian Games to a ‘mini-Olympics’ for Nova Scotian French speakers.
The games’ final closing ceremony was held Sunday, again at the Cougar Dome.
The best teams from the Truro tourney will compete at the Jeux de l'Acadie in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, from June 27 to July 1.
The full results for the 2019 Acadian Games can be found at https://communication977.wixsite.com/resultatsjrne.