The Toronto Argonauts and BMO welcomed five coaches to the BMO Field, two of which are Peel District School Board educators, and presented them with the 2018 BMO Community Coach award. Edyta Bassier, physical education teacher from Central Peel Secondary School and Gord Gallimore, mathematics teacher from The Woodlands Secondary School and varsity football coach at Erindale Secondary School, received this award for their "impact on growing and developing the game of football in their respective schools and communities."
"Sports has always been a major part of my life. I was always involved in athletics and played basketball, volleyball, tennis and rugby growing up," says Bassier. "When I think back to my high school days, the best part was definitely playing sports and my coaches are the people which I built the strongest and most memorable experiences with. I guess that is what got me into coaching. I wanted to give back to my community and allow students to be able to make memorable experiences like I had."
Bassier has been coaching at various Peel school's for eight years. She dedicates her morning, lunch and afterschool hours to coaching. She not only helps them to become better athletes, but also teaches them to learn from their failures and celebrate small victories to leave them inspired to push themselves in every aspect of their life.
"It feels truly amazing to be recognized and awarded with the BMO Community Coach award. It wasn't the trophy or title that I was most happy about, but rather the fact that others were able to recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication that coaching takes," says Bassier. "At Central Peel, there are a lot of staff who dedicate their time and effort to coaching that I've have the pleasure of working with and I feel like this award is a celebration for all the great things that happen here."
For Gallimore, coaching is a way to show students that anything is possible if you just work hard at it. He encouraged a group of students from his math class who have never played football to join the team. He taught them the game, trained them, told them to dress "with respect for themselves, the school and the game," but more than that, he taught them the importance of being team players inspired a group of young role models at the school. Although they lost their first game 63-0, students couldn't wait to get back to practice the next day to improve.
"What I love about coaching sports, and especially football, is the connections and life lessons taught on the field," says Gallimore. "I always try to get to know who my athletes are by learning about their background and life outside of football. It helps me to build a personal connection with each of them. To inspire them, I would say and do things to push them to be the best they can be."
Gallimore has coached in Peel schools for the past three years, including Clarkson, Glenforest and The Woodlands secondary schools. Through coaching, Gallimore has proven that it is more than changing a team, but inspiring a group of individuals both on and off the field, and building a strong sense of community.