Dinnington School: Canada 2012
An excellently written tour report from our Christmas Prize Draw winners Dinnington Comprehensive School has been kindly written by student and budding journalist Liam Braithwaite. Liam, along with his school and team mates embarked on a sports tour to Canada that took in the picturesque, vibrant and multi-cultural sites of East Canada. Anyway, that is enough from us, read through Liam's article and hear first hand about this epic tour...
Written by, Liam Braithwaite, Team CBA reporter, Football player and TOWIE extra!
November 2010, was the date when our very own Dana Abdulkarim had a magnificent idea to organise a sports tour. This was a first for Dinnington Comprehensive School, especially as it included four sports and both genders. Some laughed the idea off; however 50 students alongside parents, teachers and siblings poured there heart & soul into fundraising for this 12 day tour. With 15 bag packs, 2 car washes, 2 “moviethons”, 2 quiz nights, a race night, auctions & numerous other ideas we all raised £30k as a team, together. This has not just been a 12 day sports tour, but a life changing 18 month experience that will last a life time.
We arrived in Montreal after travelling for over 24 hours; you may ask “Jetlag?” No not for us! The jetlag was washed straight out the Dinnington bunch, as we were battered by wave after wave on the water rapids in the Lachine River. The rapids weren’t the only attraction; bombing, flipping, diving & belly flopping into the lake seemed to be up there too.
Fortunately we all survived the rapids without any lasting damage, well enough to go see the amazing 1976 Montreal Olympic park. This was perfectly timed as London 2012 was just around the corner. It was truly astonishing being inside the same stadium where all the athletes competed for their countries.
Witnessing some true legends of sport, the day before at the Olympic stadium, inspired the ‘CBA’ team massively leading into the first football & netball games. Dinnington Football annihilated Notre Dame 2-1 dominating the game from start to finish. Unfortunately the girls faced defeat in both games against the regional Quebec side; a well organised, skilful & determined netball opposition. I asked football coach Liam Kay after the game his opinions of the game, his response “I didn’t have to say much to the boys before the game, I could see in every one’s eyes, this was not just a game, this meant everything to them. Everything is exactly what they gave me. They have made not only me proud, but they have made the school & everyone involved in this tour honoured.”
We were all abruptly brought down from cloud nine, as we had to stomach a six hour coach drive from Montreal to the capital of Canada, Ottawa. Six hour journey, on a coach with 50+ people, nightmare you say? Well no, not for the ‘CBA’ team. We rightly stuck to our school motto ‘One and All’ to make the journey as memorable as the rest of the tour.
Ottawa, a city full of beautiful buildings, rivers & all together sights. However we weren’t here for a geography trip, we had games to play. The rugby lads travelled to Eastern Ontario U17s, as the ladies hockey team travelled to Nepan Nighthawkes. Both teams performed out of their skin against two Canadian teams with national trialists involved. Even though the rugby team lost, they never once gave up on themselves, or each other. They fought right till the final whistle. It may have been a loss, but for the school spirit and harmony it was a victory. Amazingly the girls pulled off a fantastic draw; they have only been a team for a few months. They did this with a big show of team chemistry, fight, desire & remarkable team effort from each player.
We left Ottawa behind leaving our inspiring motto with the Canadians, and travelled down south towards Toronto.
Toronto, the largest city in Canada, the holder of the world famous CN Tower, Canada Wonderland, Eaton Mall, Rogers Centre & the ancient wonder of the world, Niagara Falls. We were fortunate enough to visit each and every single one of them. For some the visit to Canada Wonderland was a fantastic opportunity. Thankfully I had a compassionate team behind me as I overcome my fear of heights and spent a lot of time on the water park. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of everyone on this tour.
Match day number two for the football and netball teams, and the question on everybody’s lips - can we produce another noble performance in Toronto? The girls pulled off an historic victory over Ontario 19-6, the girls truly deserved a great win due to the amount of effort and desire they put in to get together as a team, the second team game was unfortunately cancelled due to a monsoon that hit the city but the team celebrated with their hosts in good spirits. It wasn’t good news for the boys’ team, as the football side lost 4-1 against Erin Mill Eagles. One bit of luck would have altered the game drastically for the Dinnington side; however we couldn’t find the all-important breakthrough we deserved.
The next day the final match day arrived, rugby lads playing Ontario and the ladies playing AC field hockey. Both teams went into the final game leaving nothing behind, we weren’t just playing for ourselves, we played for Miss Abdulkarim, we played for the school, we played for all our sponsors, we played for all the helpers and finally we played for the late Mark Lovett. We may not have got the victories we wanted, but that meant nothing it was all about the team work, the grit and determination each player showed. I am positive if you saw the performances you would be proud of Dinnington Comprehensive, as a player I know I am. (Dinnington Rugby 7-16 Ontario, Dinnington Hockey 0-0 AC field hockey).
There games were over but the journey wasn’t, as we travelled to the incredible 1,815.4 ft tall CN Tower. Magnificent, breath-taking & astonishing were just a few words used to describe the view from the top of the CN Tower. The next stage was not for the feint hearted as we travelled down a floor to stand on the dreaded glass floor. Knees clattering together, arms shaking heads shaking, it’s safe to say a few were nervous. Yet again we all accomplished this magnificent achievement together, some didn’t want to, however through support of the team, Dinnington conquered the glass floor and we conquered Canada as one. Some braver members of the team even lay down and relaxed with a Slush on the glass floor!
Alas, the day we all feared most, the last day, but what a last day it was. We toured the world famous Niagara Falls; going on the Maid of the Mist boat tour was out of this world. The roar from the falls was incredible; I have never heard a noise like it before in my life and never will again. That wasn’t all that Niagara had to offer us, we had a panoramic view over the falls, whilst indulging in some of the greatest food the taste buds have ever witnessed, at the Sheraton hotel, edible perfection and just what we needed before the long journey back to Dinnington.
Niagara was the final view we had before heading back to the airport; it was a perfect way to end a perfect holiday. As we headed to the airport we were sharing stories that will go down in history. This was not just a sports tour; it was a life changing opportunity we all took full advantage of. It has helped so many people face fears and build confidence. It has showed us that it doesn’t matter if other people don’t believe in you, as long as you have a team bond like we did, you can achieve anything in life. This was our dream for so long, it turned out to be better than we could ever have imagined. I and all of the team cannot thank everyone who helped fulfil our dream enough, you made this tour we just played it. Thank you Team ‘CBA’.
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