Thursday, August 6, 2009

Update From the Wolf Den: "Kia Kaha"

Wolf called us last night on the highest of clouds. He has a hero, and for once, it not a fictional character from a movie. While I pay the highest homage myself to Frodo and Luke Skywalker, my son's ability to find real-life, bona fide heroes among the human population is rare.

It seems that CHYC, through an arrangement with their Clinical Director and CEO brought in some members of the Highland Rugby Team, a group of young men who, under the guidance of their coach, Larry Gelwix, have inspired and aspired to take life and run with it.

A movie made in 2008 about the team's success called Forever Strong was shown to the kids last weekend. Like Wolf, so many students were all fired up about the main character's rise from self-serving bully to self-less leader thanks to Coach Gelwix, that CHYC tracked down the team and asked them for a bit of their time.

They got it, all right. A visit and lunch with past and current players and a few coaches, plus a chance to sample rugby at its finest. Wolf enjoyed handling the rugby ball and kicking it across the field. He relished asking questions like "what is the best part about playing for Highland?" and "What does Forever Strong mean?" (hence the "Kia Kaha", and "What is your record?" (390 wins, 9 losses over 34 years).

The best part for Wolf? Watching the members do the Haka, a traditional Maori dance meant to celebrate the spirit of competition, the meshing of body and soul. Quite inspiring, it obviously inspired my son, because the most powerful moment for me came from his memorization of the coach's mantra.

"We're here to turn out championship boys, not championship teams....through values, commitment, and hard work."

Nice. I wonder how Coach Gelwix would feel about a CHYC Team?

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