It All Started With Two Words

FootballI grew up a Notre Dame football fan.  My Uncle Bill was an usher on fall Saturdays at the stadium.  As a family we used to drive to go to the games in South Bend.  My son and I have continued to go to at least one game a year for the past four years.  To me, there’s no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon in the fall than at a college football game south of the border, especially when they are putting together a great season like this year.  So when I see somebody with an Irish shirt on, I will usually talk to them.

A couple of years ago the younger brother of one of our grade 2 students (at that time) walked by my office as I was on my way into a Finance Committee meeting.  He had a polo shirt on with an ND logo.  I said to him something like, “Nice shirt.”  He stopped, looked up at me, and said quite confidently for a four year old, “Do you like Notre Dame?”  We then spent the next five minutes talking about the team.  He quizzed me on my favourite players, etc.  Sadly, I missed the first five minutes of our Finance meeting and likely missed a discussion on something like “leading Indicator”, “long-run average total cost”, or “tactical asset allocation.”

I was so impressed with this young boy, that I emailed his father about my encounter.  Since then, all of our conversations, whether with the Dad or his son begin with our most recent observations on the football team.  Last year my son and I met up with this KCS family at the Air Force game in South Bend.

And here’s where the story gets even better.  Usually at the start of every school day, when Mme Giguère arrives at KCS and opens the French classroom across the hall from my office, she pops her head in and we talk about sports:  football, hockey, soccer, golf, etc.  (I will miss not only her talents in our primary French classes as she goes on maternity leave in February, but I will miss out on these conversations).  At some point during these informal meetings over the past couple of years, we discussed Notre Dame and the story above.  She has a cousin whose husband, Brad, played for the Irish at the turn of this century (no, not the 1900s!).  Mme Giguère let Brad know about our student.  He took the time to write an inspirational letter to him, which I understand is now proudly posted on the young boy’s bedroom wall.  And in return, his Dad was able to find a number of tapes he had recorded of games in late 1990s, made a copy of them on a DVD, and sent it back to Brad.  For the first time, he was able to sit down with his four children and have them watch him play in games at Notre Dame.  Small gestures, kindly done, lasting memories for many people.  Really, it doesn’t take much to make a difference in the lives of others.  I’m proud to be surrounded by people who do this daily in our community.

Derek Logan
Head of School

A Good Read

On the weekend, I finished reading a book entitled, Inside Out Coaching:  How Sports Can Transform Lives by Joe Ehrmann.  The author is a former scholarship athlete who played football in the NFL.  He now coaches high school football, writes and speaks about the impact coaches have on children.  He certainly provides an important and thoughtful perspective on a coach’s influence.

While reading the book, I made notes on a number of quotes/stories that he references.  Two of my favourites are below.  This morning I forwarded the first story on to my son’s soccer coach as I know he’s experienced similar situations to this one over the past few years.

From page 193
The following is the story of the coach and a conversation he had with one of his players. Please note the quote is taken directly from the book and does not reflect the everyday vocabulary of the author of this post.

“Do you understand what cooperation is?  What a team is?”  The player nodded in affirmation that he knew.  “Do you understand that what matters is not whether we win or lose but that we play together as a team and do the best we can individually and collectively?”  Again, the player nodded yes.  “So,” the coach continued, “I’m sure you know that when a coach makes a bad call or the referee drops a penalty flag you shouldn’t argue, curse, or call them a peckerhead.  Do you understand all that?”  The player again said he did.  Coach continued, “And when I take you out of the game so another player gets an opportunity to play, it’s not good to call your coach an idiot, is it?”  The player shook his head.  “Good,” said the coach, “now go over there and explain all that to your mother and father.”

From page 214
We are all familiar with the saying, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”  Ehrmann prefers Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy’s retort:  “The only must win was World War Two.”

Derek Logan
Head of School