Two Incidents, Two Reactions

We host quite a few invitational sports tournaments at our schools. TEAM School and the Primary Campus are famous for their soccer and floor hockey tournaments, the Mentor Intermediate Division has been inviting schools to its volleyball and basketball events for over 20 years and in just the past few weeks, we have hosted HS volleyball and rugby tournaments at the school. These tournaments give our students the opportunity to play many games in a short span of time against teams that are usually not in the same division or league, and any profits from the tournament go back into equipment purchases for the teams who are hosting, so they are a beneficial part of our athletic programme.

Whenever we host, there is the risk that some things could get damaged. It is not common but it does happen and at two of the recent tournaments, there was some damage. In the first incident, a visiting student jumped up and smacked a directional sign. The sign fell on the floor and was ruined beyond repair. In the second incident, a group of students were in a washroom. One of our staff members was walking past the washroom and heard a big ruckus. When the students came out, the floor was a mess and there was water and spit all over the walls. The staff member asked what school they were from and they told her.

This is where the stories turn in different directions. In the first case, I found out about the damage after-the-fact so a message was sent to the coach of the player. The coach started by apologizing and then investigated. He told us later that the student admitted to the damage, was remorseful, and was offering to pay for the sign. This was accompanied by another apology from the coach.

In the second case, I went and spoke with the coach of the team right away. His reaction was interesting to say the least. He immediately denied that it could be his team and asked what colour jersey they were wearing, hinting to me that another school’s students had been in the washroom and had given his school’s name instead of their own! A while later he told me that he had talked to the team and they said the washroom was already like that when they got there (and he again insisted that he knew it couldn’t be his kids). It was only after that conversation that I learned there had been an incident with the same team the year before and that they had only been invited back by the convenor because the other coach of the team had promised there would be no incidents.

After over 20 years of coaching and running tournaments, I can tell you that all student-athletes are 100% capable of being just as responsible (or irresponsible) as their coaches. When we go to look for the coach of the players who are found in the out-of-bounds areas of the school, we learn that the coach left the building for a while. The students who are yapping at the refs are the ones on the team where the coach has already complained to me about the tournament setup or the officiating.

I can proudly report that your TEAM/Mentor coaches have never been “uninvited” to a tournament.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

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