I hardly know what to say after this weekend except that it was one of the most thrilling events of my teaching and coaching career. We came close to not even getting down to Iqaluit because of a spell of bad weather out at Nanisivik. It was a tough competition and I can see how all teams are getting better from when we went last year. It was nice to see a number of players from other communities I had met at last year's tournament and I got to meet Jennifer from www.nunablog.ca who was coaching the Igloolik 15 and Under Girls team.
Our girls team picked up a bronze medal against some very tough competition. I was impressed with their grit and determination considering we had a number of girls that were 12 and 13 playing against girls a couple years older than them.
Our boys team really shined, picking up the gold in the 13 and Under division. We were one of the smallest communities there so really we were considered the under dogs. The competition was very strong from the other communities we faced. The final match against Cape Dorset was tied at two after regulation so we went through overtime, a shoot-out and then finally a sudden death shoot-out to decide it. The boys were absolutely ecstatic. The only thing I remember thinking as I flew off that stage was of how hard the boys had worked and now I was seeing the results of all that effort. They were up to the wee hours last night telling anyone who would listen about their big game. A few of them even slept with their gold medals around their necks last night.
When we arrived back in town, we had our banner out for all to see and were told that right after we had won and some of the boys had called home that people had gone on the local radio to spread the good news. Back in town, our rec. director had the gym set up with a stage and sound system. All the parents came to see the two teams. I introduced the team to the crowd and tried to express how proud I was of them without breaking down in tears. I managed to do this but just barely.
What makes this special for the community is that I was told this is the first time an Arctic Bay team had ever won a tournament like this. So our school has a grand total of one sports banner to hang in the school and I look forward to seeing more in the future. Tomorrow we start building again for next year.
All in all a fantastic weekend with gold medals to show off. Not too bad considering we almost didn't go.
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