One of my roles of leadership in my life is in roller derby. I have the privilege of being the Head Coach for Team Canada Men’s Roller Derby. We’re working towards World Cup in Barcelona in 2018 and I’ve spent the last 2 days on Cowichan territory working with the squad - it’s been such an incredible challenge.
My affinity for sports started when I was probably 4 years old. I started playing T-Ball. I was astounded that this was a thing - there was a special way to hold this stick of metal to hit that ball and we celebrated the harder we hit it to make it go further? I was hooked.
Hitting things, running around, high fives, hanging out with my friends, people cheering you on, and the only thing you had to do to get better was practice - which felt like more playing?! I couldn’t believe it, there was such a level of teamwork and community, it made me so happy, so full of joy. I learned how to witness and build success after diligent application - which I would also apply to getting my Ma and Pa to take us to get slurpees after the games for “recover juice.”
Game after game, I learned how to learn, I learned the power of agency, I experienced the greatness of community and I felt the results of hard work. Baseball would be my conduit to learning how to achieve excellence. I deliberately think about what my coaches and the sport taught me almost everyday and the values and lessons I use without a shadow of a doubt subconsciously everyday.
I’ve played almost every sport - except soccer - cause we live in a rainforest and soccer went all year long and my Ma and Pa said they didn’t want to stand in the rain, I was like that’s reasonable. I did well in sports because I had a method to on-board knowledge, I was developing my own practice, a practice that I have now been working on for 27 years. Knowing how I learn and gaining the skill to critically self reflect to keep evolving my practice has been the foundation for everything I do - everything. But don’t ask me to kick something because my foot eye coordination sucks, now if you ask me to hit something, that’s another story.
At 6 years old I was watching A League of Their Own over and over and over and over again. My sister and I we’re reenacting the climax of that movie in our yard for what now feels like everyday of one summer. I would manipulate my body into slow motion to be exactly like Dottie Henson, dropping the ball precisely the way she did it. If it wasn’t perfect we’d go back to the top of the scene and do it again. I was rehearsing and practicing at the same time and I feel like that journey has never really stopped. That movie has informed who I am in so many ways.
I love sports and I love theatre and they parallel and interact in so many beautiful ways.
Uniforms - Costumes Half time- Intermission Practice - Rehearsal Director - Coach Tryouts - Auditions Arena - Theatre Goals - Intentions Cheering - Applause Plays - Plays
There is such beauty and poetics in both fields. It’s overwhelming a lot of the time how generous the people in both practices are, how vulnerable we have to make ourselves to excel and how courageous we have to be to take risks and be innovators. For me, both are actions of bearing one’s spirit and I feel so honoured with how many athletes and actors I get to bear witness to.
Being the Head Coach of National Team is one of the most challenging roles I’ve taken on. I jokingly said to one theatre producer - if I can get 25 predominantly white settler men to listen to me and achieve our goals - I can Direct any show.
Sechanalyagh and limelet to every athlete this weekend who grinded it out and continues to work towards excellence. We’ve set some ambitious goals for ourselves at the World Cup but - "I like the high ones."