The Invictus Games is all about pride and unity, and our Cadets embodied this spirit at the Opening Ceremonies Saturday, Sept. 23.
Hundreds of injured, ill, and wounded athletes from 17 nations are gathered in Toronto to compete in a week of adaptive sporting events. And St. Andrew’s boys were front and centre, leading each country’s teams into the Air Canada Centre, decked out in full dress scarlet tunics and Gordon tartan kilts. Team Canada entered last, led by Alex Jones ’20, to a standing ovation.
The proceeding were broadcast live on CTV, with encore broadcasts Sunday on TSN, ensuring our boys a national audience along with the athletes and dignitaries, including Prince Harry.
“It was one of my proudest moments in my cadet experiences,” shares Major Brian McCue, Commanding Officer of the #142 Highland Cadet Corps at St. Andrew’s College.
He describes the energy at the ACC as “unreal” and “stunning,” as more than 550 athletes were introduced. “The positive feeling was like a giant party,” he says.
Despite the jovial atmosphere, our Cadets treated their role in the Games seriously. Maj. McCue says the 46 Cadets selected for the assignment spent hours carefully polishing their buttons and readying their uniforms to look as perfect as possible. “That was our gift,” he says.
The Invictus Games were established by Prince Harry in 2014 with London hosting. The second Games were held in Florida in 2016 and Toronto is now hosting the third Games.
Maj. McCue had been working behind the scenes since early this year to secure a place for our Cadets to participate in the star-studded ceremonies that bookend the sporting events. The Games honour the men and women who have put their lives on the line and in doing so, suffered life-changing injuries.
“When it was announced the Invictus Games was coming to Toronto I thought, how can we be part of this? I reached out to the production company in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies,” says Maj. McCue, explaining this is the same company that put on the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympics.
St. Andrew’s Cadets shared the stage with a slate of celebrities: Prince Harry, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mike Myers (the Official Ambassador to the Invictus Games Toronto), The Tenors, Sarah McLachlan, Alessia Cara, among others.
You might have noticed SAC Pipe Major Alexander Brown '11 playing in the front row with the 48th Highlanders Pipes & Drums during the pipe band segment. (Did you know Iain Lang and Matt MacIssac, pipe majors of the 48th Highlanders and 400th Squadron that played at the opening, are both weekly instructors at SAC during Middle School Arts?)
The Closing Ceremonies on Saturday, Sept. 30 features the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, and Bachman & Turner. Also featured will be 17 St. Andrew’s Cadets serving as team flag bearers during the Parade of National Flags.
“I AM” is the motto of the Invictus Games, and this reflects the goal of competing not only against an opponent in sport, but against oneself. Maj. McCue shares that the St. Andrew’s Cadet motto for this month is “We Are Invictus,” a reflection of the College’s focus on helping boys become the best they can be, academically, artistically, and athletically.
You can catch the Closing Ceremonies live on CTV Sept. 30 starting at 8 p.m., with repeats being shown on TSN Sunday at 1 a.m. and 8 p.m. In addition to Bruce Springsteen and other rockers, watch for St. Andrew’s Cadets serving as team flag bearers during the Parade of National Flags.
Story by Julie Caspersen