Katherine Fyfe Smith:
Why do I, as owner of Critical Freight Inc sponsor Chris Robanske? Well. First of all, he is really nice. True, kind spirit. Voracious in want to be better. Go faster. Out perform himself and the competition. Be the best. Not the biggest, and most flashy. Simply the best he can be. He therefore reflects me as a person, and the small company that I own.
How did I meet Chris? Funny story. I had just picked up my coffee for a 3 hour drive home. World Cup Snowboard cross was being hosted at Blue Mountain, near Collingwood, ON, where I had done ski goddess training that day. Knowing the team Canada jackets (baby blue at the time), as I backed out, I asked him how he did that day. He put himself almost through my open car window and said "...I QUALIFIED FIRST!....". So I congratulated him, and said, "....well, you have to smile tomorrow and win...". And then he looked at his coach, Marcel, who also looked at me and said "... that's what Marcel says!". So that kid smiled the next day. And he hit the podium. But he didn't hit the bottom, he went straight for the top! His first World Cup win! I of course heard it on CBC, and thought, hey I met that kid!
A month later, I found myself at another World Cup near Quebec City. I had been on a training camp, and went to see the Alpine races. I watched and cheered Chris on with another of his friends, from the Alpine team. First time we had ever seen drones used for coverage! I can't say that I know his results from that day, but after speaking with the now retired alpine athlete, who said "...we don't have support like this in Europe..." where most of the races were. So I decided then and there to go to a race that season in Europe.
Forward 3 weeks. I pitched up in Arosa, Switzerland. I recognized Marcel, the head coach in the gondola to the top. Funny. I was there for Alpine. Long story, but we met at a restaurant in the village for lunch. Not certain that this kid Robanske was there, but...... as I sat with the team doctor, he came over and said "...you are here..., thank you!". And thus became my support of Chris.
This kid, remembers me. Wow. And he said "I smiled today." And I have a diatribe of memories for they are special to me, but they will bore the poor reader.
Suffice to say that I have met this kid, who has grown into an amazing young man, to adult. I have watched, and I know I had a hand in his growth by giving, by living through his obstacles, shortfalls, near misses and wins. An incredible person who I am now happy to call friend.
He knows that I love figure skating. So he and Patrick Chan did a selfie for me. Lol. I recognized Chris, and not Patrick. Chris knows. He lives. He loves. And he gives back more than many humans I know. And he puts himself on the line at every start. He gives it all, and does his self for the win. He may not always be successful for the top of the podium, but in my eyes, he is a champion, because he always does his best in a tough, crazy sport.
Sponsoring an athlete, no matter what you do, gives hope. It gives you Saturday and Sunday mornings preoccupied with FIS results. It gives you cheering for them at 3 am during the Olympics. It gives us all hope that in this crazy world, we all want one thing. For something good to come for the people that matter. A person that matters for me is Chris Robanske. He is special. He is kind. He is my friend.