With all of the school sports events that were shelved in the scholastic year of our Lord, 2020-21, it should be noted that one actually happened.

Virtually, of course, but it actually happened.

The Traditional Games Championships, hosted by the Aboriginal Sports Circle of the NWT, wrapped up on April 30 and the results of this year’s championships were finalized this past Monday.

Your winners for this year is Ecole St. Joseph School as it finished atop the overall standings with 26 points as a team. That’s one point better than William McDonald, which had to settle for second place on 25 points while East Three Secondary of Inuvik was third with 23.

Colin Pybus, who oversaw everything on the East Three Secondary front, said this is an event he takes a lot of pride in each year.

“There isn’t a lot offered for this particular age group (10-to-12-year-olds),” he said. “It’s a chance to showcase these kids and give them a chance to compete in something.”

Determining the overall point totals came down to averaging out the top five scores per team per discipline. The team which had the best average in an event received seven points, second place got six points and so on down the line with one point for seventh place.

Team had between March 15 and April 30 to compete in five events among themselves in order to register times and/or distances for each. The events this year included the one-foot high kick, snowshoe race, snow snake, wrist hang and triple jump. The stick pull was also included but that didn’t count toward the official results as it was just a school event only.

Pybus said his school took a cautious approach to the event this year.

“We got it approved for phys-ed classes,” he said. “Social distancing was easy to do because we could spread the kids out around the gym so we weren’t concerned about that. We were in a controlled environment and we did some extra cleaning to make sure everything was as safe as possible. What we would have been concerned about was if the event had been held in Yellowknife. I can say with almost certainty that our administration would not have given us the green light to travel.”

Carson Roche, the Sports Circle’s events co-ordinator, said not every team that registered to compete submitted results but 11 did and he’s happy with that.

“I thought it would be less but it turned out really good,” he said. “The big thing was making sure proper scores were being sent in and we trusted the communities to do that.”

There may have been records broken this year but Roche said those won’t count.

“We didn’t have any officials to record them and you need someone to witness it,” he said.

With everything happening virtually this year, Roche said he didn’t know what to expect but what he did know is that those teams who did take part were ready.

“We went to the communities and had instructors to help out whenever we were asked to,” he said. “The schools were grateful for our help and the results really showed that the kids were ready for it.”

The hope is to go back to the traditional group setting in Yellowknife next year but if the pandemic is still on, Roche said virtual is how it will be done again.

“We talked about cancelling it again but we wanted to make it happen so we got creative,” he said. “Our board was really happy with how it all turned out and we can do it again like this next year if we have to.”

Pybus said he’s interested to see how it would have turned out had there been gatherings.

“It’s nice that the kids got that chance to do something but it would have been fun to see what would have happened had there been kids cheering each other on and helping each other out.”

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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