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February 08, 2013

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Just for a bit more clarification. I agree, ECs make a significant different for some kids. But it is also important, from a political perspective, to understand that the union NEVER told high school teachers to stop doing the ECs. That was an individual choice. Always has been at the secondary level. Why are some sports returning? Government is the same, but it makes a big difference to teachers to not being publicly defamed by Mr. McGuinty and whatshername, the former Education minister. Frankly, and unfortunately, it's also rather late in the winter season to get overly excited about too many things returning now. Hopefully that will change with the onset of the spring season. One last point (to be shared with neighbours and teacher bashers). IF, indeed, ECs were the end all to be all that the gov't (and Mr. Hudak in particular- the son of retired teachers) and some really nasty members of the public have claimed, then they would be funded by the government (which they are not) and teachers would be trained to do them. Let's face it- when a teacher is home sick, a supply teacher is brought in to supervise and/or teach the classes. The same supply teacher is NOT paid to fill in on the football field, the chess room or the pool. People need to remember that. I had a brief "chat" with one of those nasty people today who bashed teachers in the line of a Sobeys I was in. He was enraged because his kid wasn't playing high school hockey. When I asked him what school his child went to, it became evident that the man didn't even that there hadn't been boys hockey at his local school for years. And that had nothing to do with politics. Jealousy and hatred will not solve Ontario's deficit problem. Anyway- -the answer to my question: An average high school with 1,500 kids has about 200 of them doing ECs. The same sports kids are recycled over 2 or 3 seasons (ie. the X country kids swim in the winter and the girls baskeballers play volleyball later on in the year). Except for football, X country or swimming (with 40-50 or more kids on their teams), most have only a dozen or so. My point being, that as we have already agreed, the ECs are important to individual children (and their parents), but simply do not form a major part of the school culture. But as I said, I hope new faces in government and an Education Minister who actually knows something about schools will make a difference. We need stability in education... and although I used to be a PC supporter, it will not be Mr. Hudak who brings it. Teachers volunteer their time to ECs because they WANT to do so. Let's hope that that sentiment returns across the board soon.

Thanks for a positive response, SportsFan. Unfortunately (and I don't say this as any kind of an aggressive retort), it goes to show the complex nature of a teacher's job. Your agenda, by choice, is your child. A teacher's agenda, by design, has to be 30-2000 kids. It will never be an easy balance even in a world of political nirvana.

I guess I only see it from my perspective, and that's as the parent of a kid who would not be enjoying school nearly as much as he does without the extra competition and camraderie of school sports. He respects and admires his coaches and I am very grateful to them for providing role models that he can aspire to be like. He also takes the other parts of school more seriously because sports is the carrot. If he doesn't perform well in the classroom, then sports are off the table. I'm not sure how many kids it affects, but I do know that for the ones who are affected, it's a real issue. And I certainly am aware that the elite athletes who are involved in club sports, will get noticed by college scouts in those areas. However, there are always going to be kids who can't afford to make that level of commitment to their sport, but might be on the college radar...if not, then why do scouts come to high school sports games? (because they do). It's because they know that high school sports is a competitive environment, and yes that can be fun as well. (If it was only for fun though, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't hold tryouts).

So...my point was only that there was a little sensitivity at play, and that Darrell wasn't teacher bashing (and I stand by that). Waterloo County athletes have missed out on something this year, that is my point. Having it taken away abruptly meant that there was no time to put other solutions in place to continue with league play. That wasn't playing fair. I've been happily watching my son play high school hockey all winter, and I sympathize with those who have not had the chance.

To what end was all this done? No one gained anything...all of a sudden, leagues are starting to realize that CWOSSA and OFSAA can go on without them, and so they're scrambling to ready teams for playoffs, when they haven't been part of the regular season. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that these students are going to get their opportunity to play. But I reiterate...who won here?

Sorry for the rant, but all of the "principles" that seemed to be so important a month ago, appear to have flown right out the window, now that it's down to the wire with OFSAA. It seems hypocritical, from the outside looking in. And I do worry that this will happen again, because absolutely nothing has changed in principle.

I'm also quite curious to know the answer to the following question. Given that there is mutual agreement here that extracurricular activities DO, indeed, play an important role in SOME students' lives, I wonder what the public thinks is the number of kids that actually participates in them? I think you'd be surprised to discover the answer.

You missed my point. Darrell and anybody else can be upset with the situation, but to post it in here is inappropriate. This is a space to celebrate the accomplishments of student athletes AND the teachers who give up their free, unpaid time to coach them. Bashers (and I hope none is in here) can go post elsewhere in the Record. They don't seem to care there. Here, we should. And wow is right-- there are no athletes getting scholarships from Waterloo Region or anywhere else in Ontario simply due to their participation in WCSSAA sports. Neither now, nor long ago. If you can name one, I would like to hear who it was. WCSSAA is for "fun", not for scholarships. Read their mission statement and it is evident.

I truly do not think that anyone who should be getting a scholarship will not be getting one because of missing thier highschool season. Many of those who are in line for scholarships play outside of wcssaa as well and university coaches will not be holding this against kids.
The reality is that wcssaa should not be back at all for the winter seasons. It would be interesting to see what the "ophea guidelines" say about returning to play after only 1 day of practice. The same guidelines that lead to sr. football teams delaying their first games. Students are not coming back from a 1 week exam break, this is a 2 month absence from practicing. I wonder if this has been taken into account with wcssaa's decision?

Hmmm...just a little touchy there, Goran. I didn't see Darrell's remarks as a 'slam' at all. WCSSAA senior athletes are now at a disadvantage for scholarships. That's truth. I might have used the word 'union' in place of teachers, but at the end of the day, something was abruptly taken away from these students that had previously been there without question. It might be an EXTRA as you say, but if you could put yourself in the position of some of the affected students and their parents for a moment, I don't think you'd be quite so cavalier in your criticisms. Darrell, I hope it's not too late as well...and yes, Mark, we're all thrilled about this step in the right direction! :)

Actually, Darrell...they are COMPLETELY extra. It is neither a teacher's job nor responsibility to get your child an athletic scholarship. THAT is your child's job and yours. Of greater concern to me is WHY you would bash the very teachers who are now returning to do what they ENJOY doing. You want to bash, do it in other Record forums that are finally getting shut down due to rude, hateful and inflammatory comments against teachers.

If nothing else, it's a definite step in the right direction.

Thanks for sharing this great news Mark! Whatever has been said about extracurricular's, by now one thing is certain: they are NOT extra, but in fact are part of what a well-rounded education looks like in the 21st Century. Why else would universities offer scholarships for them? By withholding extracurricular's from our students Ontario's teachers have put Ontario's students (particularly students from grades 11, 12 and super-12 who compete in winter sports)at a major disadvantage when competing for scholarships and those coveted spots on university teams. Where these students are concerned, I only hope that it is not too late.

This just made my day.

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About Mark




  • Mark Bryson is a sports reporter at the Waterloo Region Record. He dreamed of playing for the Liverpool Football Club while playing high school soccer at St. Jerome's and Forest Heights. And then reality set in. Use this space to catch up and comment on the high school sports scene. Follow on Twitter - @BrysonRecord

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