Ordinarily a mid-week pre-season game is not overly notable but in the case of Brock Badgers match against OCAA emerging power Redeemer College Royals this Thursday afternoon at Noon at Bob Davis Gymnasium, the theme and objective of the affair makes it special: bringing awareness to key social issues. Badgers Head Coach Charles Kissi has restarted what was a unique, ground-breaking tradition started about 20 years ago by one of his mentors Joe Raso at McMaster.
As Kissi highlighted: “This is our second annual social awareness game. Last year we focused on bullying this year we’re focusing on Mental Health. It’s a school day game that targets students from across the Niagara region grade 6 to 8.”
“We did something similar with Coach Raso at Mac and it was something I always wanted to bring to Brock and last year got the opportunity to do so.”
Veteran CIS observers will recall that Coach Raso started a tradition that culminated in record CIS crowds of over 12,000 at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton for pre-season games back in the 90’s that highlighted anti-bullying themes.
Continued Kissi: “It’s a great opportunity for us to engage the community through our sport to talk about some of the important issues that face our young people in our society in general.”
Maybe not ironically, Redeemer is coached by another former McMaster player/alumnus Jamie Girolametto – Kissi and the Redeemer skipper never played together at Mac but both are connected by their experiences with the anti-bullying games.
“I know him and his program feel the same way about our impact and our ability to impact young people in our society it’s beyond basketball”, offered Kissi. “(Jamie) jumped at the chance to play this game. Our hope is that we continue to grow the game and take it to the Meridian Centre where 5000 + students from the Niagara Region can experience the event all at the same time.”
Another solid initiative highlighting important social issues through the vehicle of sport that should be commended and embraced.