Part 2 in the Ambassador introduction series -- Ever wondered what it takes to become a PlayCity Ambassador? Our criteria's simple: share in the vision to enrich communities by connecting people through sports.
Meet Rob Ironside. Rob returned to Calgary after completing his training in environmental engineering at Dalhousie University where he was an active volunteer with Engineers Without Borders including a 4-month stint in Zambia and 3 years on the board of directors of the Canadian Chapter. Since then, he’s been helping organizations transition to #zerowaste. It’s a booming industry where small changes can make a huge impact.
Q. What kinds of activities did you do as a kid?
Believe it or not, one year in high school I played on seven teams. I played club hockey - so that would be my main sport - but I also played volleyball, football, badminton, soccer - even ping pong. The next year, I spent at Class Afloat - living on a tall-ship - so obviously there was less organized sports. In my senior-high year I played football and basketball. I made the basketball team as a ‘red-shirt’ which means sitting on the bench a lot but it was an amazing year for the team who won Provincials that year. When I started engineering I moved from competitive to recreational sports.
Q. What activities are you in now?
It depends on the season. In summer, tennis and beach volleyball. In the fall I’m part of a couple leagues - volleyball and basketball. I love going to Repsol - all in one facility. I’ve tried yoga, workout, circuit, spin, and cross fit. In the winter I like getting outdoors and backcountry touring. I’m also enjoying badminton at Beltline.
Q. What’s your motivation - destination or journey?
Definitely day to day joy of it. When you're playing sports you’re not worrying about everything else going on in your life. It’s a space that is needed and that I look forward to. I have to do sports.
Q. Speaking of journeys, what’s the biggest challenge with Zero Waste?
The biggest challenge is building the education and culture needed - which is tough because a lot of our population unfortunately can be apathetic and indifferent to it. My focus is on on strategies that help organizations save money and streamline their waste away from landfill.
Q. You share our challenge developing the culture needed to get people more active and connected. That’s why we’re sharing the stories. What’s your PlayCity Story?
It started when I routinely and ruthlessly beat Hafiz at Fooseball. One day, he gave me the PlayCity hat and I wore it everywhere - until I lost it. Hafiz said I was one of his strongest Ambassadors - out there, wearing the hat, joining in on the activities. In truth, I didn’t think I’d ever use the “invite” feature of the app. But this past summer, after trying to set up times with my friends to play tennis without any luck, I complained to Hafiz - he laughed and said - “just use the app.” So I did. It’s also useful to help find subs for some of my league play. We’re always looking for subs and it’s a great way to find them. Tell Hafiz I need a new hat.
Besides wearing the cap and using the app, Rob’s contribution as a PlayCity Ambassador includes helping out at events. He’s a regular at the Beltline Intramurals event demonstration project where PlayCity partnered with the local recreation team to develop ways to build awareness and increase facility utilization. It’s been a huge success thanks to his regular support.