It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog post as my time in Turks and Caicos has come to an end.
Fortunately, I was able to finish it off strong with a successful Festive Fun Day Fundraiser hosted by the club which brought in members of the community to celebrate the upcoming holidays with tag rugby games, a tackle rugby game, and some fun games for the kids with a special guest appearance from Santa! The following weekend we hosted the Inter-School tournament, which consisted of nine schools, 13 teams, and a grand total of close to 180 athletes. The participants were able to use the skills taught in sessions and enjoy a packed few days of rugby! Special congratulations to the U12 division champions International School, U15 division champions British West Indies Collegiate and the U19 division champions Grand Turk Stallions.
As I pack my suitcases preparing to return to Canada, I have tears in my eyes, not just from thinking about leaving the beautiful sunny weather here to return to the Canadian cold, but from reflecting on my experience with the people, especially all of the amazing kids I was able to work with, and how much I’ll miss them, as well as how proud I am of the work that was done, not only by me but by every intern that has come before me and every intern that will come after me. I can easily say that this experience was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life, but I can also say that without a doubt in my mind that it is one of the best things I’ve ever done.
There are many things that I will miss from my time on the island, obviously the weather (this is a massive one), the people from the rugby club who welcomed me in with open arms and allowed me to be a part of their tight-knit community and all of the kids that I had the pleasure of coaching whilst on the island, whether they were from my school sessions or my Saturday morning group. All of the kids kept me on my toes, with their never-ending questions, the funny things they would say or do and always greeting me, whether at the session or just when they saw me around the island with a huge smile, big hug and an exclamation of “Hi Coach Annik!” or “Hi Miss Rugby Lady”. They helped to remind me of the reason that I fell in love with sports and the impact that they had on my life. Besides being an overly competitive kid who loved to win, sports gave me the opportunity to learn new things, run around, have fun and make lifelong friends. I can admit that as I got older, I lost sight of those aspects of sport, but looking through the eyes of all of the kids that I got a chance to meet and coach during my time here on the island, it helped to remind me that the result of playing sports isn’t just in a win/loss column or how many points you scored but in the way that sports truly can change someone’s life.
At the beginning of this journey, a friend and former #QEScholar gave me the incredible advice to become the person that I always wanted to be and to give my entire heart to these kids… well… I can honestly say that I am leaving this island closer to the person I want to be with my entire heart staying here with these kids. I walk away with the impression of this island imprinted on me forever.
With one final parting word, TCI, thank you for giving me an experience that I will never forget and reminding me why I fell in love with sports in the first place.
Until we meet again TCI,