Stuck in the Middle: Viking Cup featuring Big Daddy Cool!
The week before Spring Break at North Saanich Middle School is always Spirit Week which culminates with the Viking Cup hockey game between the staff and students. By March everyone is ready for a break, and Spirit Week and the hockey game give both staff and students something positive, fun and social to focus on.
Teachers and students both look forward to this week. As I walk around the school during Spirit Week I get to talk about the game with the students. It is a nice change from our normal conversations and routines.
This past Wednesday while I was supervising on the field, three grade 8 students approached me. One of the young ladies said, “Mr. Russell are you playing in the hockey game on Friday?”
I was surprised since these were all grade 8 students who had been at the last two Viking Cups. “Of course,” I replied. “ I play every year. You have seen me play the last two years.”
Now I pride myself on being a decent player and I always assumed that along with their classroom teacher I might be one of the other players they notice in the game. Wrong!
“We really only look for our friends on the ice.” she paused. “And Big Daddy Cool on the teacher’s team.”
“Who is Big Daddy Cool?” I asked. I had no idea and I put the roster together every year! I went through the roster in my head ten NSMS teachers, past principal Mr. Wing, Mr. McGregor the principal from Deep Cove Elementary School, and a couple close relatives of teachers. Nothing made sense.
She must have known I was still confused because she replied with a fond smirk on her face, “You know the big guy with the bushy beard. He wears the Team Canada jersey every year during the warm-up. The one with ‘Big Daddy Cool’ in huge letters on his name bar.”
It hit me, but I still asked, “Mr. Costin the district electrician?”
“We don't know his real name,” she replied, “everybody just calls him ‘Big Daddy Cool’ when they see him in the school.”
I was dumbfounded. We play this game to build school spirit and positive relationships between our teachers and students. How could the most popular player on the staff team be a non-staff member? I needed to do an experiment to find out the truth.
Prior to the starting game puck drop, both teams line up on their respective blue lines. Two student announcers introduce the players one-by-one. All student players got loud cheers from their friends and families, and each staff member received boisterous cheers from their class and a polite smattering of applause from the rest of the student body. Mr. Mark and I were the last two teachers introduced before Mr. Costin. We received kind, some would say reserved, claps from the crowd. Pretty good for the Principal and Vice-Principal.
And then the announcers said, “And last, (pause) wearing number 2, (pause) ‘Big Daddy Cool!” The student body erupted with cheers as ‘Big Daddy Cool!’ circled out to centre ice with his stick held high above his head.
At North Saanich Middle School a staff member can play in the Viking Cup to build positive relationships with their students, but with a little self-promotion and marketing, a district electrician can become a school folk hero.
The Viking Cup is a great NSMS tradition. This year was the 28th annual game. People around the Peninsula who attend NSMS still talk about when they played in or watched the Viking Cup. Just maybe our student players will feel a little bit like Jimmy Chitwood from the movie Hoosiers for a few moments while playing in this game. Coach Norman Dale of Hoosiers may have summed it up best when he explains to Myra Fleener in the movie that, "You know, most people would kill... to be treated like a god, just for a few moments.”
The NSMS student Hawks had that moment on Friday when they hoisted the Viking Cup after beating the NSMS teacher Vikings 6 - 4.
Have a great Spring Break and Go Hawks!