School days school days - ah yes, the best days of our lives and how we look back on them.
We were recalling how much fun we used to have when someone would come along with a softball and then another buddy would show up with a bat and the next thing we knew we had a great game of ball going. Sometimes making up teams, other times a free-for-all type of game where it was every man for himself. This was great during the spring and fall but what was there for us to do during late fall, winter and early spring? Nothing, sweet nothing - not until, that is, along came two concerned teachers - J. F. "Jimmy" Wood and Mr. E. C. Dettman! Mr. Wood was principal of Queen Victoria School in the East Ward and Mr. Dettman was principal of the North Ward School (Queen Alexander we believe). These two gentlemen approached the school board with a plan. To coin Sir Winston Churchill's famous words "give us the tools and we'll finish the job". They asked for (rather fought for) and got not only softball equipment but some soccer balls and boarded outdoor rinks for the elementary schools in Lindsay.
We were soon digging holes in the ground at our school and planting the soccer goal posts. Late fall saw us putting up the boards for our rinks and once sufficient snow arrived, we were busy packing it down and flooding what would be our hockey and skating rink. In the spring we took the boards down, stored them in the school's basement and after the ground dried up it was out with the rakes to start preparing the ball diamond for the remaining weeks before school closed for the summer.
Wood and Dettman did not let the matter sit there- no, their plan was to introduce inter-school sports at the elementary level and soon it was the North Ward, East Ward and Central Schools battling it out for Hockey, Softball and Soccer Trophies.
A few years later Roy Neville arranged for a few Saturday morning exhibition hockey games with St. Dominic's Separate School and these games proved to be every bit as exciting as our public school board games.
Perhaps we're a little too late in thanking the gentlemen responsible for expanding sporting facilities they fought for in our interests, but those of us who participated in our schools' sporting activities remember them well.