The gymnasium at Ruth King elementary in Langford was buzzing with excitement Monday afternoon. Grade 3, 4 and 5 students filed in and pointed with excitement to the Mann Cup on display for them to see.
Accompanying the Cup was Victoria Shamrocks player Tyler Burton. “It’s one of the most expensive trophies in all of Canada and it’s one of the oldest trophies in all of Canada,” he told the students. They sat up a little higher to see the gold sparkle on the cup and gasped with excitement when he told them the real cup is made of solid gold and is worth more $60,000.
But he wasn’t at the school to just show off the trophy and his championship ring. Over the next few weeks Burton, as well as other team members and volunteers, will visit schools across Greater Victoria to speak about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as part of the Shamrocks’ and Subway’s Commit to Fit program.
After explaining some of the origins of lacrosse and how it was originally played as a way to heal bodies and souls, Burton stressed the importance of being active.
“This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every day,” he told the youngsters. “There’s so many things you can do outside.”
While he admitted he has suffered a number of injuries playing the game he loves, he said he always feels his best when he’s active. “Once you feel good and are healthy, you feel good in your mind.” He noted this can help the students in the classroom as well.
After the presentation Burton said he likes coming to schools and speaking with children because he knows how important it is.
“I always had people that reached out in the community when I was younger,” he said, adding he’s “just trying to do a little good – and kids love to see the Mann Cup.”
Nowadays, he said, with kids so immersed in video games and other electronics, they aren’t always getting the exercise they need. “I know it sounds cliché, but kids are the future.” He said children need to be outside and running around – “It’s a big part of growing up.” He added with a smile that he was also hoping to persuade a few to play lacrosse.
Jason Sperling, the Shamrocks’ operations manager, said the community is a big part of the team’s success and they try to give back to that community as much as possible.
He noted the team will visit five other schools as part of this campaign. While it’s not as many as they would have liked, Sperling said, they just couldn’t fit more into the schedule with the new season coming up quickly.
“It’s good to give back to the kids.”