Last month, Handsworth Secondary School welcomed Nelson High School, from Burlington, Ontario, for a week full of football and Canadian history in their hometown of Vancouver!

As one of the visiting youths, Keagan Hall shared with us his initial thoughts; “I wasn’t sure how welcoming the Handsworth team was going to be since we were obviously going to be playing them that week, but they were great and super nice people to be around.”

In between football practices and friendly football games, the football players had a great time discovering the city.  They went on a walking tour of the historic Gastown District, and explored Stanley Park. They also took a quick road trip to Whistler where they explored Whistler Village, the Olympic Rings and studied the impact of the 2010 winter Olympics by reading several displays. The groups found it shocking that since the Olympics, the land and housing prices are now unaffordable for most people.

As the week went by, many memories were created. “My favourite memory of the trip was the Grouse Grind hike (a trail on Grouse Mountain) we did on the second to last day, it was a challenge for the whole team to complete and once I finished I was very proud of myself and my teammates because I felt it brought us closer together as a unit.” After the hike, the groups watched a video in the Spirit Theatre, where they learned about the Coast Salish Peoples, the Indigenous community living on that land, and how they valued animals.

Undoubtedly for most of them, another highlight was when the groups were celebrity spectators at the BC Lions vs Ottawa Redblacks football game, an even received a shoutout from TSN! Check out the footage here:

Keagan leaves us with a final thought: “The one thing I know I’ll remember about this trip are the bonds I formed with my new teammates early in the season. One day I won’t be playing anymore and the games and stats will all fade in my memory but the experiences with your friends and teammates doing things most of us have never done before is really a special opportunity.”

Now the football gets tossed to Nelson High School.  Keagan and his group will be welcoming them in Burlington, Ontario, in May 2019.



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