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My Coach made a Difference

Updated: Jan 8

Tuesday August, 17 2021


Where were you when Damien Warner won the gold medal in the Decathalon at the Tokyo Olympics? I was on a sea kayaking trip in Georgian Bay with a group of women.I’m not going to lie, we checked our phones each day to get updates.We sat on a rock out in Georgian Bay and cheered and sang Oh Canada whenAndre DeGrasse won the gold in the Men’s 200 metre run.We heard snippets of the women’s soccer game as we paddled up the Key River on the last day of our trip. It was all just so exciting.And so inspiring. The Olympics gave us lots to talk about on the trip. I happened to be paddling with Corry Ziorjen who moved to Minden as a young person and attended Haliburton High School. Corry told us us many stories about her experience at Hal High.She spoke highly of Dave Mowat and the environmental leadership course she took, she talked at length about Tom Regina and the music program that she loved, and she had so much appreciation and gratitude forKit Pizzey who taught her Physical Education and coached her on several teams.I also walk my dog on a regular basis at East Bay on Drag Lake. Multiple times I have had the pleasure to walk with Marla McNaull, who is one of the athletes selected for the Haliburton Highlands Sports Hall of Fame.Several times while we have walked, Marla has talked about the great coaching that she got, also from Kit Pizzey and how that impacted her high school career.Kit coached, taught and inspired a lot of students in her years at Hal High.Both Corry and Marla on to become a High School Phys Ed teachers. Damien Warner has 4 coaches who worked with him to prepare for the Olympics. Two of the coaches were from his High School days in London, Ontario.One coach was his English teacher, and one was his Physical Education teacher.I listened to several interviews with these coaches and they talked about recognizing Damien’stalent in High School and coaching him then, and sticking with him all these years as he trained for the Olympics.Damien is 31 years old now so those coaches have supported him for more than 10 years. I love this story about Damien because it is such a good reminder about the power of a coach and a teacher in the lives of our kids.Every coach makes a difference!As we paddled our boats around the islands in Georgian Bay we all shared stories of teachers who have inspired us, believed in us, encouraged us and supported us. It all helped us become who we are in the world today. Fall will soon be upon us and schools will begin again.And teachers will continue to do their good work.For them, I am thankful.




Andre DeGrasse won the gold in the Men’s 200 metre run.We heard snippets of the women’s soccer game as we paddled up the Key River on the last day of our trip. It was all just so exciting.And so inspiring. The Olympics gave us lots to talk about on the trip. I happened to be paddling with Corry Ziorjen who moved to Minden as a young person and attended Haliburton High School. Corry told us us many stories about her experience at Hal High.She spoke highly of Dave Mowat and the environmental leadership course she took, she talked at length about Tom Regina and the music program that she loved, and she had so much appreciation and gratitude forKit Pizzey who taught her Physical Education and coached her on several teams.I also walk my dog on a regular basis at East Bay on Drag Lake. Multiple times I have had the pleasure to walk with Marla McNaull, who is one of the athletes selected for the Haliburton Highlands Sports Hall of Fame.Several times while we have walked, Marla has talked about the great coaching that she got, also from Kit Pizzey and how that impacted her high school career.Kit coached, taught and inspired a lot of students in her years at Hal High.Both Corry and Marla on to become a High School Phys Ed teachers. Damien Warner has 4 coaches who worked with him to prepare for the Olympics. Two of the coaches were from his High School days in London, Ontario.One coach was his English teacher, and one was his Physical Education teacher.I listened to several interviews with these coaches and they talked about recognizing Damien’stalent in High School and coaching him then, and sticking with him all these years as he trained for the Olympics.Damien is 31 years old now so those coaches have supported him for more than 10 years. I love this story about Damien because it is such a good reminder about the power of a coach and a teacher in the lives of our kids.Every coach makes a difference!As we paddled our boats around the islands in Georgian Bay we all shared stories of teachers who have inspired us, believed in us, encouraged us and supported us. It all helped us become who we are in the world today. Fall will soon be upon us and schools will begin again.And teachers will continue to do their good work.For them, I am thankful.

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