I meant to write this article in October, when the world lost The Tragically Hip frontman and Canadian legend, Gord Downie, but here we are. I guess you could say it’s been a Long Time Coming.
In the summer of 2016, I was fortunate enough to be working in Kingston, Ontario for a National Sport Federation during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Team Canada brought home 22 medals. Records were broken, history was made, and pride swelled throughout the nation. Yet, one of the most memorable moments occurred about 8,200 kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro, when The Hip came home to Kingston to perform their final show. All Canadians, whether at home or in Rio, stopped what they were doing to tune in.
Like many other Kingstonians, I made my way downtown to watch the outdoor viewing of the concert with 25,000 intimate strangers. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of.
It reminded me that things like sports and entertainment mean absolutely nothing, and everything, all at once. The Tragically Hip is about more than music, just as the Olympics are about more than sport. Among other things, they are about unity, national identity, values and companionship.
Gord left behind a legacy that will forever be instilled in the Canadian way. The whole nation felt pride when he stepped on stage. But, you don’t have to be a famous musician to change the world. Whether your stage is an office, a courtroom, a classroom or an emergency room, make your mark and be remembered. Life’s too short not to.
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