Even though it’s now in its fourth year, the annual Struchan Gilson Classic volleyball tournament this weekend at Robert Moore School still humbles its namesake.
“As long as it’s not called the ‘Gilson Memorial,’ it’s fine by me,” said Gilson, a retired teacher who taught at the school from 1980-95.
“But it’s really weird. I’m still kind of embarrassed at times,” admitted Gilson, who now sits on town council.
Five boys’ and five girls’ teams in grade eight will take part in the day-long event, which starts at 9:30 a.m. Schools competing include host Robert Moore, St. Francis, Crossroads (Devlin), Riverview (Rainy River), and Whitefish Bay.
Robert Moore teacher Cam Keast, who co-ordinated the tourney with Brad Oster, said the school’s volleyball program grew under Gilson’s guidance—and naming the tournament after him was just their way of saying thanks.
Gilson said any sports program at any school is only as good as its current supervisors.
“I was just one of many,” he noted. “There’s all kinds of teachers now who work just as hard with the kids.”
Gilson will lend a hand in refereeing the medal rounds Saturday afternoon. He said the influx of local and district talent that comes out for the tourney has constantly impressed him.
“It’s just great to expose them to the sport as early as possible,” he remarked.
St. Francis, Robert Moore, and Riverview grade eight teams are coming off solid finishes at the annual Gord Savoy tournament in Atikokan last weekend.
Both St. Francis teams finished fourth while Riverview claimed third place in both divisions in the 10-team, nine-school showdown.
Robert Moore didn’t make the playoffs but Keast said bi-weekly practices his team has put in since September is paying off. “They are steadily making progress and showing a good sense of team play,” he said.
Robert Moore grade seven students, who took home second place in both the boys’ and girls’ division in Atikokan, will be on hand to help with scorekeeping and equipment this weekend.
Keast added it was important for them to get involved as they’ll be in the spotlight next year.