Penalty shoot out decided the finalist after two hours of play that day and it was past 6 PM here in Toronto. Our dog Maximus was getting restless as this evening walk was getting delayed. I took out a plastic bag, leashed Maximus and off we went on our regular walking trail to the city center.
The city center of Mississauga (Canada) has Celebration Square in front of the City Hall (Office of the Mayor,) where many community events like musical shows, yoga classes, aerobics, demonstration of city’s upcoming projects like the light rail etc are held in summer evenings. All FIFA World Cup matches were projected on two huge screens on either sides of the stage and being vacation time for schools, many parents and children congregated there to enjoy the matches (stadium effect.) In winter it gets converted into a skating rink. The Celebration Square is about five minutes walk from our home.
I expected that the crowd must have vanished by the time we reached the Celebration Square as it was fifteen minutes after it was decided that Argentina will meet Germany in the final. To my surprise I found a gathering of about 250 people of all ages in front of the stage. The Sergeant from the City’s Paramedics was conducting a lecture cum demonstration on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). We stood there to watch the proceedings.
There were school kids and adults practicing CPR on manikins (one shared between two or three) provided by the St John’s Ambulance team. The staff and volunteers from the St John’s Ambulance were assisting the participants to practice CPR on their manikins. There were many little kids who might have had no interest in CPR, gathered around Maximus and started petting him and playing around with him while their parents and siblings practised CPR.
My mind went back to my days as a Team Leader in the call center I worked after landing in Canada. All team leaders are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid as per the company policy and I also had to attend the class. I presumed I had some knowledge about it, but after the class I felt ashamed about my shallow knowledge of CPR was (after commanding a unit of the Indian Army) and that I did not know the use of a defibrillator, which are placed at all public places in the city like offices, malls, movie halls, swimming pools, etc.
Our children have undergone training on CPR and First Aid while at school. Our son Nikhil, working as a life guard and swimming instructor with the city had to qualify the third level of CPR and First Aid. My wife Marina, being a Pharmacist also had to qualify in CPR and First Aid. They have to re-qualify every two years to maintain the validity of their certification.
The final match of any Regimental or Formation level tournament is attended by all ranks, their wives and children. After the prize distribution we generally hold a High Tea. It would be good idea to have a fifteen minute class on such subjects after the game.
Human life is very precious and a very small action or effort can save a life provided you have knowledge of how to administer CPR and First Aid.