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Importance of athletics expressed comically

A celebration of sportsmanship, dedication, and participation was held in Middle Lake last week.
All the winners of awards at the eighth annual Avenger Athletics awards banquet posed for a picture with their individual trophies at the end of the evening.

A celebration of sportsmanship, dedication, and participation was held in Middle Lake last week.The eighth annual Avenger Athletics awards banquet was held on June 10 with some 200 plus parents, teachers, student athletes and members of the community in attendance.The Avengers had a very good year athletically, starting with the golf season in September and winding up with track and field in June.According to Trevor Otsig, master of ceremonies for the evening and one of the coaches for the school, the athletes proved that hard work and dedication are the keys to success."The school excels not in one sport, but many," he said. "This has been a successful year in the development of all student athletes, not just those of provincial calibre."

The guest speaker at the banquet was Bill Yeaman, a long-time high school coach who lives in Birch Hills but is currently teaching in Kinistino.Yeaman has won 10 Provincial championships over the years, six with senior boys' team and four with senior girls' teams in basketball.Yeaman has taught for 31 years and told the crowd that he has tremendous memories of that time."It has changed my life and it has enriched my life," he said.Yeaman told several humorous stories about his kids growing up in a small town and his experiences teaching in one, focusing on the choices people make living in a small town."If you have children, they have to be involved in some activity in the community," he smiled. "Even if you don't have kids, make sure the neighbour's kids are involved so they're out of your hair on the weekends."Yeaman also advised the crowd to cut the kids a break."We need to have young people to come back to our towns and take over from older, more experienced people," he said. "It's tough for people to accept, but as young people, they'll make mistakes and they'll learn from them."Yeaman also told the crowd that it's all right to be competitive."I'm always surprised by how powerful the drive is to win," he said. "But the pleasures do not always come from the overall championship, but from the process. The medal may not always be gold and that's fine, the journey is the reason we're here."His best memory of winning a championship is the five to 10 minutes the team waits for the medal and when it is awarded."It's pure raw emotion," he says of those few minutes. "In seven minutes, it's over, the whole season is gone, but the important part begins as memory takes over. The joy as the kids remember how hard they had to work, and how many lines they had to run."Yeaman also reminded people of the strength the athletes bring and the trust they learn in themselves."I think we, as parents, forget how much courage it takes for kids to put their skills on display," he said. "The hardest thing is to become a parent, and then the hardest is to become a parent whose kids plays on a sports team."Yeaman also congratulated the school and the community on hosting the awards banquet."Anytime we can celebrate what young people have done is great," he said. "The most important thing is how hard they worked for the medal and the journey."Thirty-one awards to student athletes and volunteers were handed out over the course of the evening, recognizing sportsmanship, leadership, hard work, and participation by student athletes of all ages.Jill Heidecker and Amber Cleveland, both Grade 12 students, were the big winners of the night, sharing the Spirit of the Avengers award. This award is given to the athletes who best exemplify sportsmanship, leadership, and school spirit in all aspects of a true athlete.Both girls were surprised by the award, but very happy with it."It feels pretty good," said Heidecker. "It's good to be noticed, to be part of the school and be a positive role model."Cleveland, who played soccer, cross country, volleyball, track and field, and badminton, wishes she had another year at school."I wasn't expecting the award, but it's very exciting," she said. "I'm sad that it's over."The award winners are listed below. Golf award - David Schmidt. Grades 4-6 Cross Country award - Craig Martinka, Huxley Berting. Junior Cross Country award - Brett Parsons, Sam Schreiner. Senior Cross Country award - Kurt Hauser, Kristen Laforme. Junior Girls' and Boys' Volleyball award - Braxton Berting, Melissa Carroll. Senior Girls Volleyball award - Amber Cleveland. Official of the Year award - Jill Heidecker. Grades 4-6 Co-ed Soccer award - Troy Martinka, Keithia Gies. Junior Boys' Soccer award - Braxton Berting. Junior Girls' Soccer award - Haley Olynuk. Senior Boys' Soccer award - Taryn Heidecker. Senior Girls' Soccer award - Jessica Hemm. Soccer MVP award - Matthew Parsons, Taryn Heidecker, Lyndon Reiter, Kendall Freriks, Cara Kielau. Grades 4-6 Co-ed Basketball award - Craig Martinka, Kale Dobrohoczki. Junior Boys' and Junior Girls' Basketball award - Riley Dobrohoczki, Kendall Freriks. Senior Boys' Basketball award - Simon Hauser. Senior Girls' Basketball MVP award - Jill Heidecker. 110 Per Cent Senior and Junior Basketball award - Heather Martin, Kyle Wehage, Jesse Kwasnica, Braxton Berting, Jill Heidecker. Badminton award - Taylor Krentz, Tanner Brockman. Sports Volunteer of the Year award - Taylor Krentz. Track and Field awards - Mackenzie Dobrohoczki, Brandon Lechler, Julie Baker, Tanner Brockman, Brett Parsons, Brittney Dobrohoczki, Taryn Heidecker, Luke Pomedli. Intramurals award - Eagles. Grades 4-6 Boys' Athletic award - Huxley Berting. Grades 4-6 Girls' Athletic award - Rayna Olynuk. Junior Boys' Athletic award - Braxton Berting. Junior Girls' Athletic award - Haley Olynuk. Senior Boys' Athletic award - Kurt Hauser. Senior Girls' Athletic award - Jill Heidecker. Participation award - 1. Braxton Berting, 595 pts; 2. Cara Kielau, 510 pts; 3. Heather Martin, 505 pts. Spirit of the Avengers award - Amber Cleveland, Jill Heidecker.