As a teacher and principal, I worked in all four Western provinces and the Yukon territory. So, over my career, I met and played a part in the lives of hundreds and hundreds of children and young adults. There are times when I have nightmares where a large number of those who established themselves in my memory as people who posed some problems, but those are rare occasions. Most often I just remember moments and scenes involving young people whom I have not seen or heard of in decades. Young people who I remember for their fun, their spirit and the eagerness to learn and embark on new adventures.
One of the best parts of being a teacher and a principal was through the seasons of the year, being a sports coach and those are my most cherished memories. Girls softball teams, volleyball teams, curling, hockey of all ages, badminton tournaments, track and field, figure skating, soccer, football; each season in a small school you do your duty as a coach of something or other. Believe it or not, I have coached basketball and I really couldn't do a lay-up if my life depended upon it. As a coach, I got a hip pointer teaching a figure skater to do reverse cross overs in slow motion,(front row third from the left) got bruised ribs coaching a soccer game and a concussion refereeing a school hockey game.
But, through it all, there were those absolutely unforgettable moments when a player, or incident, simply riveted itself in memory.
In the summer of 1972 and again in 1973, I was coaching the high school girls ball team in the little community due south of Regina called Ceylon. It was not an easy job being principal in a community like that one, but the students made every single problem seem completely unimportant. The girls on my ball team were my first experience as a high school ball coach and of course, as already mentioned, I was completely ill prepared for the task. But that didn't matter, the players were keen and we did our best to play good ball.
The team was easy to remember, Margo Kaufmann was the catcher, her sister Trudy, was the pitcher and right behind her, at second, was Sandra, a cousin. Even though it is now thirty-four years later, those young women, their courage and love of sport, seems like it happened just last week. Mark Vargo a grade eleven boy, helping me with a practice one afternoon, shocked everyone when he told fielder, Cindy Arnott, to get her ass into swinging the bat, as she was a giggly loose armed girl, Mark's suggestion paid off and Cindy became one of the teams sure things at bat as she almost always got on base. She would wander up the the plate, sling the bat around like a whip for a few seconds, the opposition always thought she was just a goofy girl, but, when the pitch came, she tighten things up and was a solid ground ball hitter and could make that distance to first base vanish in a flash.
So the question is now, after all those years, what has become of these young women. Sadly, I must report that Mark Vargo died a year or two after graduation in a car accident, but those cheerful ball players will have all gone on to make ball players of their own. If you happen to be one of those, who played on a team with me as your incompetent coach, I would really like to hear from you.