Photo by Don Fennell
Byron Jack only has to look across the track for inspiration.
Just steps from the long jump pit where he’s working with a group of young athletes, his 82-year-old dad Moseley has just wrapped up a training session with some sprinters.
It is the calm before the storm in the track and field season, and the meets are starting to come fast and furious.
“I don’t get to see a lot of my dad, but I know I’m going to get to see him at the track,” says Bryon, as father and son cross paths during a typically busy spring weeknight evening at Clement Track.
The two longtime Richmond Kajaks coaches are looking forward to the 50th anniversary of the B.C. Elementary Track and Field Championships, which the club will host May 25 to 27 at Minoru Park. Moseley has missed the meet just once (he was vacationing with his wife) since he started volunteering in 1980.
Though they’ve received many compliments through the years, Moseley maintains it’s about the kids.
“We tell them, ‘You’re the most important because if it weren’t for you there would be no meet.’ I see encouragement as the most important thing, not whether they jump five metres or whatever.”
Byron echoes his sentiments.
“I think it’s really important to have good memories, especially for the kids when they’re growing up. I remember the B.C. elementaries at that age and boys it’s a big deal. You just remember it forever.”
Byron says he hopes most that kids take away the importance of being a good sport, and maybe gain confidence from performing on a big stage.
“Hopefully they can carry that into whatever they do when they’re older, whether it’s athletics or not.”
Fit and slim and still displaying a level of energy many half his age would be envious of, Moseley follows a strict diet that centres on unprocessed foods. But he also attributes his youthful nature to coaching.
“It has provided something for me to do rather be in the house and feeling sorry for myself.”
Byron and his sister Aretha, who is also mom to two promising young runners, picked up many of their dad’s traits that reflect his humble Caribbean upbringing.
“My main aim was to provide the best I could for my family,” says Moseley, a retired Richmond school teacher. “I feel you have to be a caring person, not self-centered and feeling you’re entitled. We need to bring out more caring and giving. Even if you don’t have money you might be able to give of your time. I’m coached thousands of kids in this community, and I enjoy doing that because I like to see kids succeed.”
Says Byron, who also followed his dad’s lead in becoming a school teacher (in Vancouver): “Without the support of my parents I wouldn’t be (coaching) as long as I have. Some would say why waste your time, you could be doing something more productive. But I enjoy working with kids. It’s also probably why I got into teaching. I feel like I’ll coach until I can’t.”
•The B.C. Elementary Track and Field Championships meet traditionally features a large presence from Richmond schools, but organizers hope to build on this for 2018.
The event was created to provide young track and field athletes with a fun and safe competitive experience. All elementary school-aged athletes are welcome to participate, regardless if they are new or experienced in the sport. And they do not have to represent their school to enter the meet. Kajaks is offering an early-bird entry fee of $7.50 per event.