We’ve been hearing a lot of the term ‘culture’ lately in many different contexts.
As it applies to schools, it is a very important element that’s often overlooked in the passing of the torch, as it were, from one generation to the other.
Some schools manage to maintain a certain culture or identity over many years without missing a beat. New students coming into a school simply carry on where graduates left off and the element is just as strong despite the passing of time.
Chemainus Secondary School has a rich sports tradition, particularly in basketball, that stems from the heyday of the 1960s and 1970s, with a smattering since then but no sustained momentum to continue the trend.
Part of it is changes in society. When iPhones and tablets didn’t exist, students would fill their time by playing sports within the school and on their own free time. It provided the basis for a strong and healthy sports culture.
Also during that time, basketball games were played in the evenings and there were many tournaments on weekends. The gym would be packed on a Friday night, especially for a meeting with rival Ladysmith. The atmosphere was electric and players couldn’t get enough of carrying the hopes of their school into those intense battles. Games now are primarily confined to after-school hours, with a few family members and friends in attendance.
It’ll be difficult to replicate those glory days simply because Facebook occupies too much of students’ time and the commitment just isn’t there.
But the arrival of Casey Parsons at Chemainus Secondary as athletic director provides hope of rekindling some of the past. He has a strong background in the sport and is aiming to rebuild that basketball tradition.
It’ll take time, but his presence is a step in the right direction. There’s currently an enthusiastic group of junior boys at the school who are showing promise.
Principal Jaime Doyle also is a proponent of the benefits of athletics and teacher Graeme Arkell has the interest and experience to help move the program forward.
It would be great to see the school better connect with its past that, of course, includes the late, great Bill Robinson.