Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division
- Monday, April 18 – Earth Week Assembly Speaker- Dr. Kent Moore: Laidlaw Hall, 9:55 a.m.
- Tuesday, April 19 and Thursday, April 21 – Student Directed Play: Twelve Angry Jurors – David Chu Theatre, 7 p.m.
- Friday, April 22 – Casual “Green” Dress Day for Earth Week – Earth Week barbecue for lunch
If you were standing outside the doors of Laidlaw Hall on Monday, you might have wondered what was going on inside that hallowed space, as roars of laughter came in wave after wave while listening to our guest speaker. We’ve certainly shared some humourous moments during assembly – like the time our own Dr. Power was “dissed” by a Buddhist nun earlier this year – but Old Boy Greg Eckler ’87 had us all in stiches earlier this week. (Here’s a link to the YouTube video of his speech if you missed it or want to see it again.)
Eckler, holding the hardware in the picture below for the Canadian Screen Award he and his team won, is a former stand-up comic who now writes for the Rick Mercer Report. Yet, Eckler was only one of two Old Boys in the house on Monday: newly signed Maple Leaf Colin Greening ’05 (pictured below) also stopped by assembly during a brief visit to the College.
In addition to being very funny, one might also describe Eckler as a very brave man, as he poked fun at the lowly Leafs saying that fans had nothing to fear, as the struggling team was in a “re-building millennium” and were positioning themselves to win the Stanley Cup in 3016. At that moment, all eyes turned to Greening who was standing at the back of the hall who, fortunately took the jest with good humour and had a good laugh with the rest of us. Upon reflection, the presence of Eckler and Greening, and the exchange between the two, provides some valuable thoughts for consideration.
First, throughout my 17 years here at UCC, I’ve seen increasing diversity among the professions pursued by our Old Boys. Historically, I think many would have presumed graduates from the College would pursue “traditional” roles in the fields of business, banking, law and medicine. While many current students continue to pursue these areas as professions, these fields of study and employment are now being complemented by what some might characterize as “non-traditional” roles: screen-writers, journalists, film-makers, actors, and of course, comedians and athletes. The variety of work with which
our Old Boys are involved demonstrates that UCC truly is a place where a boy can pursue his individual dreams.
Second, Eckler’s very funny assembly address, which was more like a stand-up routine, teaches us the importance of laughter in our lives. It is difficult to describe, but there was a palpable sense of “lightness and positivity” amongst the boys after Eckler spoke. Laughter puts life in perspective and can provide a well-needed break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It was a great way to start the week and I’d encourage all of us to try to find more humour in our lives. Finally, the way in which Greening graciously chuckled after Eckler’s jab about his beloved team validates the need to be able to laugh at ourselves.
“Being able to laugh at yourself may be a sign of an optimistic personality and a sense of humor… and it might even improve your mood. Humor has also been identified as a possible factor in the development of personal resilience. ‘If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself…And if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.’” (“Why It’s Incredibly Important to Learn to Laugh At Yourself,” Huffington Post).
I’d encourage you to speak with your son about pursuing his dreams, appreciating the humour in life, and about not taking himself too seriously: “Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment,” says Horace (Roman poet, d. 8 BC).
Thanks for reading,