The race of the games
Organizer brings Eastern Arctic Games together in two weeks
Two weeks. Three hundred people. Little money.
The pressure would have been enough to make the coolest marksman shoot his own foot.
And Charlie Munick will tell you – the day after agreeing to organize this year’s Eastern Arctic Games in Kangiqsualujjuaq, the pressure got to him.
“The first day, I realized there was a lot of people. I thought the games couldn’t be here. The second day I thought there was so much to do and in so little time. I thought there was no way the games were going to be here. But look, here we are,” he calmly says Aug. 9, the day before the games’ closing ceremonies.
Three hundred Nunavimmiut from across the region descended on Kangiqsualujjuaq for the bi-annual EAG Aug. 4 to 10 – all looking forward to seven days of competition in a variety of traditional games and team sports.
Few realized that the race to organize this year’s games actually began in mid-July, when Munick agreed to plan the event.
As Munick, 30, sits in his office at Kangiqsualujjuaq’s new community centre, he is vague about why he took over the games with so little time before the opening ceremony.
One organizer, he says, went on holiday shortly before the games began and a second organizer was not showing up for their shifts.
“They [the municipality] eventually told me to take over.”
It was the first event of this scale Munick ever organized – a week-long competition involving every Nunavik community, except Akulivik and Ivujivik, more than 18 events for men and women and 275 athletes.
For Munick, it was a sprint to the finish the very second that the race began.
The original organizers had completed some tasks, like having team tee-shirts designed and ordered, before Munick took over. Teams also paid and arranged their own transportation and accommodation in the village of 600.
But it was Munick, and a small group of individuals who supported him, who made the event happen.
“It’s been lots of phone calls that’s for sure. Phone call after phone call. You have to have a stiff ear,” he says quietly. “We had to fund-raise and look for money. We also had to make calls to performers and organize their transportation to see if they were going to come or not.”
The phone calls paid off, securing about $65,000 in donations from such regional organizations as the Kativik Regional Government, Makivik Corp. and the Nunavik Tourism Association.
Then after raising the money, Munick had to schedule a variety of different sports from women’s softball to golf to traditional games to volleyball and then make sure there were enough volunteers to help at the different games.
Munick still managed to play a bit during week. In fact Munick and his Kangiqsualujjuaq’s teammates made it all the way to the men’s volleyball final before Kuujjuaq took the gold in three straight games.
And it may be a very good thing that he got the chance to have his time on the court. Because despite all the pressure, Munick now says he might try organizing the games the next time they come to Kangiqsualujjuaq.
“I’d do it again – only with a little more time next time.”