Last night was the high school athletic banquet and as I do every year, I marvel at the wide variety of athletic endeavours we offer AND at the student-athletes who partake in them. In many ways, I am jealous of the opportunities they have and find myself saying, “I wish I would have gone to a school like this!”
When I was in school, I played sports from the first day of school to the first day of final exams. Volleyball season led directly into basketball season, basketball was just finishing as badminton started up and I was able to start track and field a week or two before the last birdie had been bashed. We did not have such exotic sports as rugby, archery, cricket, table tennis or alpine skiing and I probably wouldn’t have found the time or interest to do any of them (although my Dad was a member of the Forest Hill Archery Club in the 60s). And while my school had music and drama and outreach opportunities, I didn’t take advantage of any of them (but in hindsight “wish I would have”).
Rugby is a good example of a school sport that attracts all types of athlete. Some students join for the camaraderie, some sign up for the excellent fitness component and some enjoy the physical contact of the sport. In a (relative to our opponents) small school population like ours, all types are needed to field a team and with great coaching, our rugby teams are 10-3 in ROPSSAA this year.
Archery has an even more diverse athlete profile. When we first started the programme, most of the team members were only part of that one sports team. With some initial success, archery began to attract more students and this year, the team has two OFSAA (Ontario) gold medals and most of the team members are involved in multiple sports during the school year.
We see this at all levels within our school. There are all kinds of reasons why students get involved in activities. They may join the Spelling Club because the teacher-in-charge was their homeroom teacher a few years before. They may not be particularly interested in the Choir but hearing from a teacher or parent that “you have a great voice” can be the start of a wonderful lifetime hobby. Peer pressure can be a positive thing and I imagine that more than a few of the actors on our stages this year only went out to auditions because their friends did. Motivation can come from unlikely sources, too; HS coach Mr. Milkovich can probably name more than a dozen girls whose 4-year career in a Marauder rugby jersey started with a uniform detention he issued in Grade 9 “to be served at 3:30…bring your cleats and meet me on the field”
As this year comes to a close, I challenge all students to take a look at how they can expand their horizons next year. This might mean joining more clubs but it also might mean dropping a few activities in order to focus in on one or two. For the older students, it might be improving their overall academic average and for the younger ones, it might be to make more friends. Mentor College and TEAM School gives every student these opportunities so make the best of them so you aren’t saying in June 2016, “I wish I would have…”
Mentor College/TEAM School