Forgive my obvious bias, but I’ve often stated that the Sudbury District Secondary Schools Athletic Association could be held up as a shining example of what can be accomplished when like-minded, passionate advocates gather with common goals in mind.
Well, it’s no secret that the educational system in this country is adversarial — that is, boards are in competition against each other to attract clients, in this case students, which in turn has a huge affect on their available resources.
It might be simple logic, therefore, that would lead one to conclude that representatives from these competing factions might not be able to play well together in the sandbox, that the very nature of the system might often get in the way of reaching common ground on issues relating to sport, achieving compromises often necessary to facilitate competitive scheduling, interpreting regulations, etc.
But I can happily report that the opposite is true of virtually all SDSSAA executive and program leaders meetings that I’ve attended over the past 25 years.
Despite widely varying backgrounds and portfolios, attendees at these meetings I’ve found to be professional, amenable and flexible, understanding full well that when considering issues big and small, give and take and respect for others’ perspectives is the straightest path towards accomplishment.
Outside the SDSSAA, and perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve seen some pretty wacky stuff taking place at sports meetings, including but not limited to yelling, finger pointing, grandstanding, threatening, profanity and in one extreme case, a clipboard tossed across a boardroom table, crashing against a wall with papers spilling everywhere. I’ve also witnessed physical confrontations avoided by the slimmest of margins too many times to count.
Understandably, not only does this never get the job done, it also scares away many good people in the process. After all, most people get involved with youth sports as means towards a pleasant pastime, a way to give back to community, rather than as a means to fight with others or impose their will singularly. I truly believe that if the benefit of the participant is held up as priority one, compromise is always attainable without confrontation.
So I truly do look forward to SDSSAA meetings, to the extent that anyone could ever look forward to meetings. With the number of activities the association organizes each season, I know challenges, some formidable, are inevitable, but I also know this experienced group will bend whichever way is possible in the best interest of all student-athletes, regardless of board affiliation.
The Wrap this Week
Mother Nature has not been kind to SDSSAA baseball this fall season. All of the first six regular-season games for the five teams entered have been rained out, which has sent the schedule into disarray. At last check, after Wednesday night openers, schedule dates included Oct. 4, Oct. 7 and Oct. 9 with playoffs Oct 10. If more rain comes, more changes may ensue — game, rain out, reschedule, repeat. Ugh.
All eyes on the battle of the undefeated in girls flag football. Not counting games played after Oct. 1, two teams, Marymount Regals and Lasalle Lancers, were perched atop the Division A standings at 4-0-0, preparing for a showdown on Tuesday at 2 p.m. In Division B action, the last remaining undefeated teams, the Lively Hawks and Confederation Chargers, met this past Wednesday with results not known at publication time.
The Lo-Ellen Park Knights are keeping the banner party going with the boys golf team winning NOSSA in fine style last Thursday in Lively. The Knights were 25 strokes better than second-place finisher, St. Charles College, with team member Josh Hayes shooting a 71 and capturing gold hot off the heaels of his third SDSSAA low gross title one week earlier. The Lo-Ellen boys will now test their skills at OFSAA, hosted in Kingsville, Oct. 16-17. On the girls’ side of the ledger, Horizon student MacKenzie Selk continued to make history for Les Aigles in finishing second and in doing so qualifying for OFSAA in St. Thomas, Oct 16-17.
Dave Makela is the athletic administrator for the Sudbury District Secondary Schools Athletic Association. His high school sports column runs weekly during the school year.