One day before he’s scheduled to carry the Pan Am torch through the Church-Wellesley Village, Adam McNair admits he hasn’t done any particularly special training for it.
“I haven’t practiced carrying things,” he says, laughing, recalling one workout he did do on a rainy day. “But I will confess I was on the treadmill the other day, and I was like, ‘I hope it isn’t raining like this.’”
But he is ready to carry the torch as it makes its way through the city on July 9, 2015. Running as PrideHouse Toronto’s official representative, McNair will make his trip starting at Wellesley Subway station at about 4:30pm before making his way down Church Street.
It’s an exciting journey for a person who used to avoid team sports.
“I always did solo sport,” McNair says. “I never felt comfortable inside the . . . situation of all-male team sports or even co-ed team sports.”
It was only after he came out and later joined an LGBT sports league that he found athletes and teammates who accepted him for exactly who he was. He now plays flag football in an LGBT-inclusive Toronto league.
And it led to an interest in creating more opportunities for people who want to play on inclusive sports teams. McNair has been the lead for community outreach at OutSport Toronto since 2013. He has seen participation in LGBT sports league grow by leaps and bounds in the city, something he credits to the increase in public dialogue around inclusion of LGBT people in sports.
“As long as that conversation continues to happen and we continue to help nurture and create safe spaces in very sort of public sports leagues for LGBTQ people, we’re going to continue to see that dialogue increase inside of our own community.”
McNair became involved with PrideHouseTO three years ago, getting more and more involved as the Pan Am Games drew closer. He is also the co-chair of the Village Celebration Working Group, which is helping to plan many of the events taking place in the Church-Wellesley Village.
It was only by chance that he got to carry the torch at all. All of the long-term PrideHouse volunteers had their names chosen at random from a hat — and McNair was the lucky one chosen.
“It was literally my great, good fortune and pure luck,” he says. “It could have been any of the other individuals who were equally as deserving.”
PrideHouse, he believes, is representative of one of the best ways a community can come together and engage with the Pan Am Games.
The family he was born into will be cheering from afar, and his chosen family, along with Pride House volunteers — and all of Church Street — will be cheering just as loudly as he takes the torch at Yonge and Wellesley.