February 12, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 74  

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Mustangs help kids learn lesson

By Aron Yeomanson
Gazette Staff

Matt Prince/Gazette
WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DETERRING BULLYING. The point of Monday’s anti-bullying campaign was apparently forgotten by two participants in the basketball game who get engaged in a bit of a donnybrook.

Weekday afternoons at Alumni Hall typically feature boring lectures about politics or psychology allowing hundreds of drowsy university students the chance to catch up on their rest.

Monday afternoon, however, was completely different.

Over 1,200 kids ranging from the sixth and eighth grades packed the building to capacity for an anti-bullying initiative, which featured a play performed by students from Banting Secondary School and culminated with an exciting men’s basketball game between the Mustangs and the Ontario University Athletics Selects, a team composed of former OUA players.

“It went off like a clock,” said Mustangs head coach Craig Boydell. “The board of education had everything tremendously organized and [Mustangs’ capatain] Sagar Desai was our organizational man today — and it turned out to be the kind of thing I had hoped it would be.”

“I think it’s been great,” added Scott Weaver, a teacher at Leesboro Central Public School. “The play the kids put on earlier was excellent, we get to do some extra work in our classroom tomorrow and I know that most of the kids from my school haven’t been out to see a basketball game here before.”

The game itself ended in a 72-63 victory for the Mustangs which thrilled the crowd and was more of a battle than anticipated. “It got intense at the end,” said OUA Select player and former Mustang Tim Shanks. “My friends Sagar [Desai] and Adam [Peaker] are still on the team and anytime we play against each other it’s going to get pretty competitive.”

Playing in a close exhibition match also gave the Mustangs a chance to try to make improvements in a game situation, but Boydell was quick to point out the day was really about the kids.

“We’ve been struggling and we got a few guys into the lineup today who haven’t been able to play for a while,” he said. “Mostly, though, it was a day where we were just trying to do something for the community and that was really the focus.”

The event created an important link between Mustang Athletics and the community as getting kids involved with the university seems to be a goal of both the Thames Valley District School Board and Western.

“We’ve worked with [Western] in the past,” said Susan Dale, a teacher on special assignment in violence prevention. “But this is the first time we’ve connected up with athletics so it’s very exciting for us.”
“I’ve always believed that athletics have to be about more than just playing games,” Boydell added.



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