Athletics. To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, “What’s the deal with athletics?” It seems that everyone has some thoughts on how ACS is doing and what we should be doing differently. Allow me to weigh in with some thoughts as a school administrator, parent, and coach.
Straight-up, we have an excellent athletics program!
Have we won a whole pile of Provincial Championships? Honestly, the answer is “no.” We have won four championship banners in boys’ and girls’ basketball. So then why do I state that I think we have an excellent athletics program? The answer lies in how we define excellence. If the only measuring stick for excellence is championships won, then I feel that we are missing the point. I believe that excellence means we are being true to the mission and vision of our school.
Let me give a specific example. Our senior boys’ volleyball team has the potential to win a Provincial banner this year at the ‘A’ level. That is a fantastic accomplishment in itself, but to be fair let’s look at the bigger picture.
- Understand the differences between A, AA, and AAA schools. The basis for a school’s designation is simply enrollment numbers. For example, to be an A school means that we have fewer than 80 students enrolled in Grades 11 and 12 of a specific gender (less than 80 boys total in Grades 11 and 12). AA school population is between 81 and 225 students of that gender in Grades 11 and 12. This year we are an A school for boys, but an AA school in girls athletics because we have just over 80 female students in Grades 11 and 12.
- Our athletes are typically multi-sport athletes. I think this is something we should celebrate more. At ACS we talk a lot about teaching the whole child, and encouraging a student to focus on just one sport does not do justice to that student’s growth as a person. They may become excellent at spiking a volleyball, but if we are all about students who become life-long learners, then we need to encourage and celebrate students who become well-rounded athletes and continue to stay active and healthy for the rest of their lives.
- We have participation rates that are incredible. At the middle school, we have over 75% of our students involved in extra-curricular athletics, and at the secondary, that number is still at over 40%. Take for example our High School Track and Field Team. Last year more than 75 students from grade 8-12 participated!
As a parent and coach, I have watched as my own children have grown as athletes and as children of God. I will never forget being in Kamloops with my daughter’s basketball team when they were playing in a high-level tournament. Not only did the team play well against some of the best teams in the province, they also, of their own initiative, spent time handing out treats and praying over children in the Kamloops hospital between games! I believe this demonstrated excellence on and off the court! And, that is something to celebrate!