Heads Up

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Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division

Scott CowieUpcoming Senior Division Dates:

Monday, June 1 – Thursday, June 4: Y1-IB1 Exam Preparation Week
Thursday, June 4: Y1 – IB1 Exam Tutorial Day (optional classes but teachers available for extra help)
Friday, June 5: Y1-IB1 Exams begin

The month of May, and this week in particular, is one of the busiest times of our academic year. It’s also one of the most rewarding, as we bid adieu to our Leaving Class boys. Most of our year-end events are geared toward our IB2 boys, but we started this past week with our Spirit of Athletics assembly, a celebration of all forms of sport at all grade levels, from varsity representative teams through to the fierce competition of our inter-school house sports program.

In a former life at the College, prior to entering the dark world of administration, I spent over 10 years coaching in the varsity football and varsity rugby programs. I still try to stay as connected as I can to our athletics program, albeit the space I now occupy has shifted from the sidelines to the stands.

Last week, I had the pleasure of watching our senior boys take on St. Mike’s in the varsity rugby semi-final. It was truly one of the most exciting high-school games I’ve ever seen, one that had all the ingredients that will make that game a lifetime memory for all those involved.

Here’s the recap. (imagine I’m doing my best Howard Cosell impersonation here.) Tied 5-5 at half time, our Blues went ahead early into the second half with an unconverted try (think a touchdown with no point after) to go ahead 10-5. St. Mike’s then scored two more tries, converting one of them to go ahead 17-10. Then, with no time left on the clock, our team scored a try to make it 17-15. In order to tie the game, the Blues’ kicker needed to convert the score with an extremely lengthy, difficult kick through the posts. As you can guess, he made the kick and the game went into over time.

Here’s where things get very interesting. Much to the confusion of all the fans, including myself, we eventually learned that the overtime format doesn’t involve further game play, but rather goes straight to a kicking format where each team has three opportunities to kick a convert: one from the middle of the field; one from the left side of the field; and finally one from the right.

Both kickers were 2 for 3 in the first round and the game was forced to a second round of kicks, which yielded the same result, forcing yet another round of kicks. It was at this intense moment where the game’s most inspiring play took place. The two young players, in the midst of their heated battle, smiled at one another and shook hands before continuing on to complete what turned out to be the deciding round of kicks.

It was a very powerful moment, and for me, the highlight of the game.

I’m not sure what prompted the boys to do this. The ref didn’t instruct them to do so, nor did their coaches, nor their teammates. I suspect that both of them may have recognized the absurdity of their situation – the game, and a birth in the championship the following week, ultimately rested solely on their shoulders. It was as if each realized the others’ plight; characters in a Greek tragedy of sorts, not at war with one another but rather in a clash against the Fates, who would ultimately decide the victor that day.

We often hear about the poor decisions made by professional athletes and about their abhorrent behaviour off the field. Tom Brady’s untruthfulness in the “Deflate-Gate” scandal and Ray Rice’s documented violent abuse of his fiancée are two recent examples that come to mind. In seeing that great character moment last week, I can’t help but think what two high school athletes at rival boys’ schools in Toronto could teach guys like Brady and Rice; lessons about how to play by the rules and how to treat people with honour and respect, all through a simple handshake and a smile.

Thanks for reading,
Scott