Birchmount Park - School of the Year in Sports?
I am not sure if it is time to check the H2O at Birchmount Park Collegiate or just flatly admit that this east end Toronto school simply is just so much better than others in sports.
All right, I have to admit that I had some thoughts about the school's exceptional or elite, call it what you want, athlete program being a magnet to attracting talented kids. But, there are others — not in the program — also pulling their weight in sports. And, there are a few more schools with special programs in sport — and I don't see them excelling like Birchmount Park.
It's interesting that the football team, after a thrilling semifinal win over Trinity are now just one win away from a Metro Bowl (and that's on Nov. 25 at the Rogers Centre against Markham District). The Panthers have never won the big game before — but this could be the year. They're also not superstitious at that school: a win would cap the year at 13-0.
With all the hullabaloo in football, there should be just as much for the boys' senior volleyball team. They won the Ontario championship last year, also kicked some butt dominating the Toronto season and then the title on Wednesday. Garrett May and his buddies are unbeaten in some 60 games — and favoured to win gold at the provincial level next week in London.
While the football team preps for the trip to the Rogers Centre, the baseball team has already been there. Yup, six months ago, the Panthers won the Prentice Cup at the home of the Blue Jays. And Birchmount Park has also won titles in girls' soccer, cross country, ice hockey, track and field — and I may have missed a few.
I know there have been some potholes in the road to success, like the sad situation involving the hockey team at an Ontario playoff, but that's the past — and sure hope some people also let this thing go rather than hold grudges against reporters who just did their job — and well, too.
Whether it's Aaron Brown's sparkling touchdown, from 19 yards deep in his end zone and dashing down the field on Wednesday, or Toronto Star allstar infielder Bryan Piper's success at the plate and in the field at the '09 Prentice Cup or swimmer Paolo Olavario's gold medals in the pool earlier this year, something is going right.
Yes, ladies, I haven't forgotten. Multi-sport star Kodee Williams is counting the days until she moves on to a scholarship in the fall and soccer player Lacey Warner has taken her memories to the University of Wisconsin — just one of many post-secondary schools with Birchmount Park athletes.
I should mention that the school does have a great sports stadium next door and Variety Village, where teams have trained and played while the gym was under renovation this year, is a block away. Yes, kudos to the coaches too. But it is much easier having a slew of exceptional or elite athletes in the building.
Maybe I should end the promo now. Congrats to the athletes and coaches. Maybe it's time the administration gives them all attention too.