Thursday, March 30, 2006

Soccer Goals

One of the big challenges in a small community like Arctic Bay is the lack of infrastructure. For example, our school gymnasium is not only used by Inuujaq School but also by the general public for many other community functions such as dances, meetings, court sessions etc. This makes it a challenge for school sports teams to get practice time. Both our boys and girls teams can only get a couple of 2-hours practice sessions per team per week. Many in the community hope for a larger school gym or a second facility which would allow us to field more competitive teams.

Inspite of this, I am hopeful that we will be able to send a 14-and-under and 16-and-under boys team and a 14-and-under and 16-and-under girls team to the next regional tournament. The kids don't let inadequate practice facilities dampen their spirit or love for the game.

Coaching in-door soccer has definitely been a rewarding experience for me. We field teams that play in Iqaluit in a gym 4 times the size of the one here in Arctic Bay and against larger centres with well-developed community leagues. When I took the boys 16 and under team to Iqaluit for the regional tournament last November it was truly a David and Goliath-type scenario. While we lost all our games, the boys played their guts out and inspired me with sheer determination and a "never say die" attititude. In many ways it is a victory just to be there.

In the meantime, we practice hard and build for the future. In the end it is the team work, comaraderie and great memories that make the tournament worth while.......more valuable than a win or a loss. And I learn much more from them than they do from me.