Boydell's boys help bash
By Aron Yeomanson
If Western’s student population seems abnormally short this
coming Monday, don’t be alarmed.
Alumni Hall will be hosting 1,200 students from the Thames Valley
District School Board. The Grade 6 to 8 students, who were selected
on a first-come, first-serve basis, will be given a presentation
on violence and bullying before being treated to an exhibition
basketball game between the Mustangs’ men’s team and
former Ontario University Athletics players.
“The past couple of years we’ve had a couple bus
loads of kids come down to watch a game,” said captain Sagar
Desai. “This year, we wanted to take it to the next level
and add an educational purpose.”
Educating students in the Grade 6 to 8 range about violence and
bullying has been a focus of the school board in the recent past,
and for good reason.
“There are many advantages to educating people in this age
group about violence,” said Western psychology professor
Claire Crooks. “This is the age when there is a changing
focus from family to peers in socialization. Bullying becomes more
complex and often involves the starting of rumours or exclusion.
Therefore, a more complex message is necessary at this time.”
This message will be presented in the form of a play written and
performed by students from Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School
“There ought to be more to athletics than just putting a
team on the floor,” said head coach Craig Boydell. “This
is a way that athletics can make [Western] more visible in the
Don’t expect this event to be the last of its kind as Boydell
views the increased involvement in organization as a learning experience
for future endeavours.
“This event is kind of a prototype for us,” Boydell
said. “Once we go through it, we’ll be able to develop
a plan to do it again and make it easier to do next time. Maybe
in the future we can run four or five events with different themes.”
Following the educational segment of the event, the kids should
be in for some entertaining hoops as former OUA basketball stars
have been recruited to play against the Mustangs.
“The theme we were after was to have as many former OUA
players, who are now teachers, come out,” Boydell said. “Again,
as our events get larger, it will be easier to recruit more players
in the future.”
The idea for Monday’s presentation has been greeted with
a lot of enthusiasm.
“From what I understand the gym could have been filled five
times over,” Boydell said.
Combining basketball with an educational message is a good way
to add credibility to thoughts on violence that are most likely
already promoted by parents.
“This is a great opportunity to get the message across,” Crooks
said. “Having the basketball team help promote these ideas
gives the kind of star appeal that parents sometimes don’t