Friday October 31, 2014




NWSD schools win three provincial sportsmanship awards

Northwest School Division
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Photo by Murray McDonnell

Members of the Ernie Studer School girls volleyball team are: back row - coach Brad Freyman, Rachel Ecker, Sheniya Fineblanket, Bailey Wagman, Lisa Levesque-Osiowy, coach Jody Freyman, front row - Coal McCaig, Jaida Freyman, Alison Ingram and Carolann Merz. Missing is Natasha Hirschfeld.

Three Northwest School Division schools received Provincial Sportsmanship Awards from the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association in the past week. Executive Director Kevin Vollet presented banners to Carpenter High School of Meadow Lake, Ernie Studer School of Loon Lake and Pierceland Central School, and certificates to the team members and coaches.

“It’s a significant and prestigious award,” said Vollet. “Approximately 100 teams compete in 10 provincial competitions based on school size and gender. Medals are rewarded for placing first, second and third, and the Sportsmanship Award is presented after the competitions are over. The winners are chosen by a committee made up of referees, hosts and SHSAA reps that observe the teams both in play and off the court and select the most sportsmanlike. The Saskatchewan Milk Marketing Board provides the banner (and milk to all the students).”

“For one school division to receive three of ten awards is a remarkable accomplishment,” said Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Darrell Newton, “and a tribute to the quality of the coaching and the philosophy that shapes the culture of our schools.”

Larry Waterman, principal of Carpenter High, agreed. “It’s a really positive reflection of the kids, the coaches and the schools. It’s not the first time that our school has won a sportsmanship award, but every one of them is special. It’s much more difficult to win a sportsmanship award than to win a game or a tournament.”

“Our season turned out really well,” said Carpenter coach Dion Petz, “but winning the sportsmanship award isn’t something that you think about while the season is on. When you go to provincials you’re focused on the other banner – the championship one. When our principal called me in to tell me about the sportsmanship award I felt really good because it showed that we were trying to win the right way. From day one in tryouts we focus on winning the right way – on the way you carry yourself, and on the way you treat your teammates, on not being selfish and to respect the differences in people because these are the things that you can learn in sports that you’ll carry for the rest of your life –in the workplace and in your family. It takes many seasons to teach that and it becomes ingrained in the process – which is probably why you don’t think of it at a provincial tournament – it’s just there.”

“Winning the award was quite a surprise,” said co-coach Amber Clark. “Being a good sportsman – behaving with class – is something that Carpenter’s always been known for. We have a great group of nice, hardworking and respectful girls, but I also think that the award speaks to the tradition of sports in Meadow Lake. It’s not something that starts in one year – it starts in the younger grades and is reinforced and becomes a habit.”

In Loon Lake coach and principal, Brad Freyman, spoke about the significance of the award:

“Our goal was to finish in the top half at the championships, but that didn’t pan out. Winning is nice (you have to be able to win to get to that level), but the experience was a greater thing. This award speaks volumes about what our kids are about, because it comes as a result of their interactions with officials, referees and hosts who watch them both on and off the court. There’s a culture in our school: we ask two things of our students – try your hardest and be respectful- and this transfers to our teams.”

Co-coach Jody Freyman agreed. “I’m so proud that the girls won that award. I know that we came home disappointed because we felt we were competitive with many of the teams there, but when we got the letter that let us know we were getting the award, it made me think about how wonderful the experience was and how it showed so much about the girls – about their character and their maturity and how they still had fun whether winning or losing – which is the most important thing. They are an awesome group of girls. Sometimes they might not have been the best team on the court, but they were always the best teammates for each other. The road getting to provincials was hard, but through it all they did well, they carried themselves with poise and were wonderful representatives of our school, of our division and of our community.”

Pierceland principal, Terry Fortune, commented on his team’s success and on the philosophy behind it: “We’ve worked hard in the school promoting the concepts of accepting responsibility, respecting others and giving it your best, and athletics is a part of that culture. In order to put a team together this year they had to beg a Grade 12 boy to play who’d never played before, and they pulled a Grade 9 boy up from the junior team just to get the numbers. They were a young and relatively inexperienced team. To compete as well as they did, earning their way to provincials with just six boys all year was one thing, but to find out afterwards that they’d played with such sportsmanship that they won this award was icing on the cake.”

“Winning this award is a great thing,” said Pierceland coach James Hetlinger. “We were in the mix competitively all season long and at provincials, although it was often a challenge because we had no subs. I always told the boys that it didn’t matter whether you win or lose, you just need to go out and try your best and you’ll never be disappointed. I also teach them that whether or not they win or lose, the audience should never know the difference. We teach that directly and we instill it in phys-ed and it’s a part of our coaching, because sport has to be more about developing the right attitude than about the wins or losses. At the end of the day no one’s going to remember the score. It’s about relationships, and it’s about being a good person because in life, you know, that’s what’s going to carry you.”

“I’m extremely proud of our team for the effort that they put in. It’s nice to see that what I believe in my heart, and what I teach the kids every day, is being acknowledged, and we’ll hang that banner with pride, because it demonstrates to the students that people outside recognize and reward the things we teach. Competitive sport is about attitude and growing up and being better people in society, and these boys have made us all so very proud!”


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