Accenture’s Cattran looks back fondly on his 1997 Games experience
Charlie Cattran’s memories from his involvement at the Canada Summer Games extend far beyond the basketball court.
The Ottawa local, who was a member of Team Ontario men’s basketball team at the 1997 Games in Brandon, Man., enjoyed the competition, but also put a high value on his experiences and interactions away from the sport.
“It definitely was a long time ago,” Cattran said. “I’m aging myself there but it was such a great experience. It’s almost like a mini-Olympics for Canada just being able to be with so many student-athletes from such a diverse group of sports and from all across the country.”
Cattran, a Managing Director at Accenture, said enjoying the moment is crucial in the overall experience.
“One thing I would encourage all the athletes to do while you’re there to compete and you’re so focused on winning and being your best, is to-try and balance that with being present for the other things going on around you and the opportunity to meet all these other people from across Canada,” he said. “We trained so hard and wanted to win so badly, our sole focus — at least my sole focus — was how I performed on the basketball court. There are benefits to that, but in hindsight, what a great opportunity it is to be there”.
“Try to be present in the moment. Be grateful for the opportunity to be there and try to soak it in. Be open to the memories you’re going to make outside of your competition. Easier said than done, but the people that can balance the two, it’s probably beneficial to your sport and might take a little bit of the pressure off.”
One of Cattran’s most vivid memories was the housing situation for the athletes.
“Hopefully the facility situation in Niagara might be a bit more modern than what we experienced in 1997 but that didn’t take away from the experience at all,” he smiled. “Team Ontario, we were staying in a converted class room. It was kindergarten. You can imagine all the big guys — I’m 6-7 and wasn’t nearly the biggest guy on the team — using the small sinks.”
The 5,000 athletes, coaches and support staff who converge on Niagara for the 2022 Canada Games will be housed at the Athletes Village at Brock University.
On the court, Cattran met people who would play major roles in his life.
“For me, I never played for coach (Dave) Smart before and I went to Carleton mainly because of basketball and the opportunity to play for him,” Cattran said. “Another was the best man in my wedding and I still talk to him from that experience.
“It was a personal life-changing moment for me, as well as the connections I made playing for Team Ontario, and competing at that level. It sort of set the trajectory for the next 10 years of my life.”
Cattran said playing with the best of the best from across Ontario was an eye-opener.
“Growing up playing in Ottawa, it’s a pretty big city, but getting a chance to play with athletes from all across Ontario to come together to create Team Ontario, it’s like a mini-Olympics,” he said. “A lot of diversity on our team, racially as well as people coming from different socio-economic backgrounds or even different parts of the province, Northern Ontario to Toronto, to Ottawa.
“It was such a diverse group. That was the big benefit. It’s not only a celebration of sport, but of all the other different parts of Canada that come together. That’s the great thing about doing something like this, the diversity you can get through sport.”
Accenture is the Official Diversity and Inclusion Partner for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, playing a lead role in creating activations that will engage Games’ participants and spectators alike and celebrate Canada’s diversity during next summer’s event.
“Accenture is a leader in inclusion and diversity,” Cattran said. “And to hold us accountable, every leader at Accenture is measured on their progress towards I&D goals. We practice it, we don’t just speak it”.
“I think from recruiting, to how we structure our teams, to how we work with our clients, diversity is really important to us and there is huge value in having diverse teams.
“We really live and breathe inclusion and diversity in the workplace so it’s incredible to be partnering with the Games that embraces this just as intentionally. It’s hugely important in sport and it’s inspiring to see the Games so committed to fostering a safe space where athletes can be their authentic selves.”
Cattran is pleased to see the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games have the same values when it comes to inclusion and diversity.
“It helps to level the playing field. That’s one of the beautiful things about sport, this opportunity to work together to a goal, especially with team sports.”
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