FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The gym where it all started, Bert Bowes Middle School hosted two events with Bo Hedges on Wednesday, giving students a chance to meet the captain of Team Canada’s wheelchair basketball team during the day and recognizing Bo’s influence on the community in the evening.
Hedges recently came home from trying to earn a medal for Team Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He says there’s usually a bit of a drop in energy after having gone so hard for so long
“There’s always a little bit of a lull after the Games, so coming home and seeing friends and family, it’s great,” said Hedges. “Coming back and seeing them in person, it’s great to appreciate everything everybody’s done for me back home.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Bo gave a demonstration to the students at Bert Bowes by teaching the teachers the fundamentals of wheelchair basketball. Using the newly delivered — and space-themed — wheelchairs from the Northern Adapted Sports Association, Hedges took the teachers through some skill drills and exercises so that they can share that knowledge with students in their gym class.
As part of filming for the documentary Dream Big – Fort St. John to Tokyo, Sutherland Productions and Eagle Vision Video Productions pulled out a couple of surprises for Bo at the evening event.
Normally a thoughtful, reserved individual, Hedges says it was a little weird having to talk about himself so much for the documentary.
“It’s a little tough to do that a bit. Christine [Sutherland] is great at asking lots of questions, and you meet somewhere in the middle. Ben [Haab] and Christine have done an amazing job of putting this together. Every time I see a little piece of it, the production quality is awesome and I’m really looking forward to it coming out. It’ll be pretty cool for friends and family, myself and the community. It’s amazing that she wanted to take this project on, so I’m very thankful that way.”
Various residents and businesses in the Peace region donated six wheelchairs in Bo’s name to the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation. These chairs will go to people around the world who need one but do not have the means to get a wheelchair.
While COVID-19 safety guidelines limited the number of people allowed in the gym, a number of people were able to celebrate Bo on the Zoom wall. One special guest, Hedges’ teammate Patrick Anderson spoke about the friendship they built together over the years, some of the highs and the lows they’ve experienced together, and noted Hedges’ ability to be an athlete and give back to the game wherever he can.
To finish off the evening, Bo, the documentary production crews, MLA Dan Davies, Mayor Lori Ackerman and everyone in attendance was invited to play a pick-up game of wheelchair basketball.
While Hedges is still in wind-down mode after a hectic 12 months, he’s still hungry for more competition, but he’s not looking too far ahead.
“Paris is a ways away, but we have a World Championship in Dubai just over a year from now, so that’s what I’m going to start training for and preparing for. After that, then we’ll see how my body feels and how I feel, but at this moment, one year at a time.”