A Taste of Gold
Kyle Grootenboer ’05 reminisces about OFSAA Gold
OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) is the pinnacle of high school sports. Regular season games are tough, but the competition is familiar with teams from the local area. Tournaments feature schools from all over Ontario, but are held before or during the season. OFSAA, however, is reserved for the best teams after a full season of development, from every corner of Ontario. OFSAA is what every competing high school team dreams about at the start of regular season. It’s the ultimate achievement in a high school athlete’s career.
Kyle Grootenboer ’05 was lucky enough to be part of an OFSAA experience at HDCH. He played defense on the Boys Soccer team, which was coached by now-Principal, Nathan Siebenga.
“Nathan’s leadership style was empowering. I wasn’t very skilled with the ball, but I could run a lot. Nathan put me in a position where running was 98% of the job. He put me in a spot that highlighted my skills and he made me feel confident.” Kyle
The team had a successful season the previous year and was hungry for a taste of OFSAA gold. Months before the 2005 season, players went for team runs on top of individual work to prepare themselves physically for the rigorous game play ahead.
“I ran three or four times a week before our OFSAA gold season, on top of basketball games and practices,” Kyle said. “To end each run, I pictured the OFSAA gold medal at the finish line, and gave everything I had to get to it.”
The team that year was backed by the support of an entire school community—sidelines were always packed with yelling fans.
“One of the greatest memories was when Matt Miedema scored the winning goal in the city final game against Sir John A. MacDonald,” said Kyle. “Students were supplied buses that day to come cheer us on, and almost every single one came out to support our team. There was a huge celebration on the sidelines.”
The team went on from city finals to compete at SOSSA (Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association) in Hagersville and then at OFSAA in Thunder Bay. All of their hard work had paid off; they had achieved their ultimate goal. And along the way, the team developed some pretty solid relationships which were cultivated by their time spent together both on and off the field.
“The OFSAA experience helped to shape our team of boys into quality character guys,” said Kyle. “I still stay in touch with the majority of my teammates, and I even play soccer with a couple of them in various leagues. Some of us still go camping or to the cottage together. And I get to connect with them at church and when they drop in at HD.”
Kyle is now employed as a teacher at HDCH. He also coaches the Midget Girls Volleyball team, the Grade 9 Boys Soccer team and the Boys Soccer team.
“As a coach, that OFSAA experience has made me realize the importance of a team,” said Kyle. “We played against teams with incredibly skilled players, but they could never compete with our cohesiveness as a team. I see a lot of similarities between the soccer team ten years ago and the soccer team today. There are some incredible athletes at HDCH. What will make the difference from a good season to a great season will be the hard work that they put in right now. It is my desire as a coach to put together a squad of 20 guys who will go out on to the field each day and play their hearts out for the guy next to him.”