Apr. 6, 2009
I wonder if Scott Madill knew what he was creating when he wrote the recipe?
Scott Madill is an english teacher. He is also the driving force of the Sir Oliver Mowat high school dragon boat program which operates out of Scarborough, Ontario. I spoke to him a few days ago about the possibility of having 7 crews from Mowat attend this year’s Ontario Championships.
In one of my favourite sports books entitled ‘Moneyball,’ there is significant time spent referring to University of California, San Diego, the college Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane attended – referring to it as a baseball factory. Any acclaimed baseball or football ‘factory’ in the US College system is a result of major marketing, heavy recruiting and most importantly brinks trucks of money. The athlete factory featured in this blog is only comparable to those in one facet … success!
Mowat's dragon boat program is simply the most successful sports enterprise I have witnessed in the past 2 decades!
A couple facts:
I believe this success is directly attributable to the creation of a positive culture emanating from a single source; coach, founder and inspirational leader Scott Madill.
Having been the race organizer of high school dragon boat for several years the one major difference I find between Mowat and the also-rans is STATUS. Status is critical to the life of every high school student and at Mowat you gain athletic and social status in dragon boat, while at most other schools you gain such status on the football, hockey or girls cheerleading teams. This desire for the status to be on the dragon boat team creates internal-competition within the dragon boat program and ensures individuals in it maximize their potential, thus creating a nice mixture of recruiting athletic potential and creating athletes from raw material.
As mentioned earlier, I feel the culture emanates from one individual, Madill. His infectious personality, funny delivery, uncanny ability to relate with every kid in the classroom and boat, and pure passion for individual development. I believe these qualities come to Madill naturally, I also believe these qualities are the core values or culture represented by Mowat dragon boat. Part by design and part by osmosis the athletes witness and adopt these traits and create an environment that is welcoming, fun and demands success. Surely this is the culture of a club we would all want to be a part of, gaining athletic status, social status, international dragon boat opportunities and an abundance of learning!
Mowat is not simply a dragon boat factory but also an athlete factory. Congratulations Mowat and congratulations Madill!
More on Madill, my first flatwater coach in future blogs
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