Volume 95, Issue 4

Thursday, June 14, 2001


On your mark, get set...

The hockey gods must be crazy - or is that insane?

On your mark, get set...
Elementary athletes shine

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

Lauren Starr/Gazette
AND AFTER THAT ONE FATEFUL DAY, THE KIDS WOULD NEVER LET FRANK PLAY LIMBO AGAIN. This unidentified human cannon-ball was seen doing what he loves at the intermediate boys high jump, part of the Thames Valley District School Board’s track and field event, yesterday.

Track and field fiends won't have to wait for the Canada Games in August to get their fix of quality athletic viewing. 

Months before Canada's best male and female athletes arrive, T.D. Waterhouse Stadium will play host to the best elementary school runners and jumpers in London and the surrounding area at the Thames Valley District School Board track and field final.

June 13 was the tentative date set for the young men and women to invade TD after the meet was delayed based on a weather report of a lack of co-operation from mother nature on the original June 12 date.

Thames Valley Athletic Officer for Programs David Gosset, said the weather is one thing he and the many teachers and volunteers cannot control. After that, nothing is left to chance.

“From our perspective [the toughest challenge] is getting everybody on the same page — helping all the regional conveners, making sure all the equipment and awards make it. By the day of the event, it should run itself,” Gosset said.

Getting everybody in sync is no small order when you consider the massive size of the operation. This is the second meet of this kind since the surrounding counties amalgamated into the large TVDSB. Gosset said the original planning for this event was a long, detailed process.

“To be perfectly honest, it took six months [to plan], after the amalgamation two years ago,” Gosset said of the planning involved.

Gosset went on to pinpoint just how many kids need to be accounted for before the final meet even sees its first event kick-off. “We have eight geographical regions [in the Thames Valley School Board] with two track and field meets in each region. There are about ten schools in each region — that's about 800 kids.”

Sport Co-ordinator for the Northwest region, Joanne Makrakos said balancing the duties of being a teacher and helping to put together an event of this size is a tough task.

“I wish we had more planning time, it's really tough planning and teaching full time. I teach grade eight, so I've also got graduation to plan,” Makrakos said.

Of course, all this planning and time is put in with the ultimate goal of giving the young student athletes a day to remember. Metcalfe Central School student and triple jump hopeful, Jordan Stewart said he is looking forward to the experience.

“I've never been [to the Thames Valley final meet] before and it's my first time in the new stadium. It should be an interesting and fun place to compete,” the 13 year old Steward said.

Makrakos confirmed it's the experience kids get out of a day like this that makes it a worthwhile venture.

“Seeing the kids and their faces at the end of the day — they don't all get medals, but they all get a participation ribbon and they worked hard to get it. All the headaches become worth it,” she said.

Gosset echoed those comments noting any athlete who makes it to this point has already achieved a great deal. “To make it to this meet is an accomplishment in itself,” he said.

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