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Final Exam

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Team Player

CBC Pan Am Games sportscaster Scott Russell comments on the role sports play in the school of life.

By Laura Bickle
Photo: CBC

Name: Scott Russell

Describe your elementary school self.

Shy, bespectacled and happy.

Describe yourself in high school.

Shy, bespectacled and curious.

What was your favourite subject?

History. It has the word story in it.

Most challenging subject?

Math. It was too logical and rigid.

Which subject do you wish you had paid more attention to?


Favourite literary piece studied?

The Great Gatsby. I read it in Grade 11 and I’ve read it many times since. Gatsby was this outsider who wanted to belong. It was a tragic story with such grandeur.

Favourite historical figures?

Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela. I’m fascinated by their struggles to survive and be better.

Favourite fictional teacher?

John Keating in Dead Poets Society. He encouraged students to express themselves and see the world.

What do you wish you had been taught in school but weren’t?

Patience. The focus was always on getting homework and projects done. Being able to reflect is important.

What was your dream career?

It was always teaching. I taught high school for two years but I had this romantic notion about it. I found marking papers and having to make students pay attention frustrating.

Most memorable teacher?

Mr. Heffernan. He taught high school law and he was the best basketball coach ever. He also played professional lacrosse. He taught the value of hard work and was as honest as the day is long.

What’s your fondest school memory?

It was 1972. I remember our French teacher rolling in the TV and watching Canada play Russia in hockey. At the time, it was what mattered most. Everyone was interested and understood the magnitude of it.

Important lesson learned at school?


The best advice received?

Think big. Dream big. And don’t worry about the details.

If you could create a new course, which would you choose?

The Field of Play: Why Sport Matters. For a time at Centennial College, I taught that course. Most of life’s les­sons stem from sport — hard work, the competitive spirit, individual excellence, physical literacy, teamwork. They are core to what we are as human beings.

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