On your mark, get set...
By Ryan Dixon
Elementary athletes shine
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
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.