Page 14 - Edify-Nov-Dec-2023
P. 14

I was at West Edmonton Mall with my wife and daughter, and I did what many husbands do — I made my escape. While they were looking at, well, something or the other,
I headed to a nearby sports shop to look at sneakers
and activewear.
And, as I looked at some of the latest Nike and Adidas
gear on offer, I noticed something about the store itself. It was a Saturday afternoon, so the athletic-gear shop was busy, and I was shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of guys who were all about as, cough, husky as me.
The guys going through the aisles, oohing and aahing at the wall of shoes, looked like they were never going to ever work out. We might buy the gear, but we weren’t actually going to use it for the purpose for which it was designed. To us, this is expensive leisure gear, stuff to wear around the house while we’re doing anything but strenuous physical activity.
Oh sure, there are times when I think, “Yeah, these pair of track pants will do me just fine when I’m going to start my workout plan.” Sadly, the workout plan never gets off the drawing board. But, wow, are those pants comfy. They don’t snug up in the wrong places when I’m watching Netflix.
On that Saturday at WEM, we were all trying to gain entry into a club to which we didn’t belong. I wasn’t planning to earn my stripes — but I thought that maybe wearing three stripes might make me look the part.
I walked out of the store, feeling very comfortable in the knowledge that I was a pretender.
Overseeing the Top 40 process makes me feel the same way. Each and every year, I look through hundreds of nominations and applications. The Edify policy is that the editor should never be on the selection panel — but
I do help guide the judges. So, each year, I read through the lists of achievements of not just the 40 recipients, but many of the great candidates who don’t make the final cut. I don’t envy the judges; they have to compare artists to scientists to community builders to philanthropists. They have to determine which candidates have the most breadth, and do the most to put Edmonton on the map.
And, as I go through the submissions and, later, the judges’ scores, I think: “Whoa, all I do is write stuff
down.” I think about what I got done before my 40th birthday, which has long faded into the rearview mirror. I certainly didn’t get the kinds of things done like this 15th anniversary class has, or the 14 classes that preceded it.
I am back in that sports store all over again, looking at slim-fit track pants.
As this is a special year for our Top 40, we’ve also gone back in time and selected a member of each of the previous 14 classes. We’ve caught up with them, and asked them what they’ve learned since they got their Top 40 Under 40 honours. And that’s what makes these people great: Though they’ve received accolades for doing what they do, they still move for- ward, and have gone on to do even more great things in — and for — Edmonton.
I bet they even have workout plans.
Steven Sandor

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