We have had a mild winter in Victoria. I make that observation as my wife, Joan, is on a plane to see our daughter in Montreal, where the temperature will hover between -4 and -13 Celsius. Last week as I observed in my last blog post, I was in Toronto chairing an accreditation visit to Bishop Strachan School, where the temperature range was the same. Not that I minded too much, really; I am not one of those who think that one’s well-being depends on the weather. After all people lead very happy and productive lives in more Arctic places like Yellowknife, Inuvik, and Helsinki.
But one of the benefits of our weather here in Victoria is that the fields are not rock hard as they might be in Edmonton (where David Angus, our Board Chair lives). They are green and even a little soft. This past week, our huge front field was mown, and this morning as I walked to school the neat lines left by the tractor stood out, parallel and silver from the very fine mist that hung in the air. Yesterday afternoon I was able to look out on this field and see an assortment of boys doing some rugby drills, throwing themselves on the ground and handling balls in a way that would have been a fantasy in Toronto.
I was in my office, settling down to some work after watching our Senior Boys’ Basketball team secure a victory over Shawnigan, 65-50, in the South Island tournament. This year is a bumper year for basketball teams on the Island. Three of the top five teams in the province are on the Island: SMUS, Brentwood and Lambrick Park. They have played each other several times already, and on any given day any of those teams can win. Our other winter sports are mainly played inside, as in the rest of Canada. Our squash teams’ strength comes from some younger, nationally ranked players, which bodes well for future years. Our badminton teams are perennially strong. Out of doors again, rowing is under way, quietly building to an incredibly busy spring.
Sport, and its lessons of teamwork, decision-making, leadership and lifelong health is one of the core pursuits of our school and schools like it. It is hard to find a late afternoon here where such a thought isn’t in our forebrains, right in front of our eyes.