By Lawrence Powell
While hundreds of Canada Winter Games athletes were competing in dozens of events in Nova Scotia over the last two weeks in February, Annapolis Royal’s Gary Walsh was making sure things were running smoothly for them.
Walsh, no stranger to The Games, was on this year’s Team Nova Scotia mission staff, looking after short and long track speed skaters, target shooters, and snowboarders.
Walsh’s connection with the Canada Games goes right back to 1971 when he was a core member athlete in weightlifting in Saskatoon. In 1979 he was a head coach for wrestling in Brandon, Manitopa and was still coaching wrestling in 1883 at The Games in Quebec. He was actually part of the musical entertainment at The Games in 1985 in Saint John, New Brunswick where he played guitar with the group The Motions. And he coached wrestling when the Canada Games were held in Kamloops in 1993 and in London, Ontario in 2001.
“In many ways, I have made athletics my profession,” he said. “I was a physical education teacher and high school coach for 34 years. I’m still coaching at the high school level until my final group of students graduate in 2012.”
Walsh was involved in numerous sports in high school and university (St. Mary’s and Acadia), and he found himself on provincial and Atlantic teams as well. Plus he’s been a member of Nova Scotia teams in weightlifting, wrestling, rugby, soccer, and karate. H’s also coached soccer, instructed karate, and long ago achieved NCCP technical instructor status and has his NCCP theory instructor levels formerly called Levels 1,2, and 3.
As a community volunteer, Walsh has been involved with King’s Theatre, Big Brothers, school clubs, including robotics instructor at ARRA and AWEC, has been a GPS navigation teacher and self defence instructor for the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, has been a local and school rep for the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, and has been a music instructor with high school rock bands for the past 33 years.
When he’s not involved in sports or performing work in the community, Walsh plays lead guitar and sings with The Focus Band which is in its 22nd year of rock and roll.
Walsh is also a certified first aid instructor with St. John’s Ambulance and has helped certify school staff, students, and athletes in first aid.
Walsh has a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in accounting and has gone on to become a school principal, physical education teacher, and a high school math and Tech Ed teacher. He also holds masters degrees in technology education and has taught Tech Ed for 10 years to students of all ages.
“This has given me the opportunity to use the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art materials and equipment in the work place as well as at the sports venue,” he said.
Walsh retired as a teacher in 2009.