17 year old Eddie Lam came to Strathmore High School (SHS) in Alberta, Canada with the goal of graduating with an Alberta diploma. Along the way he found life lessons and friendship where he didn’t expect it – rugby. Eddie has always loved rugby and started learning and playing before coming to Canada. It was during his second year at SHS when he noticed there was a high school rugby team at and it didn’t take much time to think about joining the team.
What’s great about the Strathmore Spartans rugby team is they welcome anyone who is interested in joining. There are no stressful tryouts to be discouraged by. The coaches and team members are like a community – a rugby community – who are extremely friendly and helpful towards each other and create a close bond. Sometimes rugby gets a bad rap because it is a tough, physical sport but Eddie considers it to be absolute fun. “What rugby takes isn’t a well-built body but rather a person who is brave enough to overcome fear and will to play the sport,” says Lam. This outlook is exactly what the Strathmore high school rugby coaches try to instill in their players. It’s not just about playing the game; it’s about learning how to work hard, learning to work together as a team, learning discipline and learning how to win and lose. These are real-world skills that can be applied to all areas of their adult lives.
When Eddie first started with the Spartans he told the coaches he had played in the backs when he lived in England and was used to playing outside centre. But during his first game, he had to replace an injured player on the wing – this was a position that he was not familiar with. Little did he know that he would play on the wing the rest of the season. His dedication showed as he worked on his passing, kicking, tackling and positioning so that he would become a better player. “We saw tremendous improvement in his skills and decision-making as the season progressed,” said Coach Popel. “His teammates were amazed how a smaller player could tackle bigger players and get right back up!" Coaches Popel and Steele consider Eddie a good teammate and good opponent – he was always one of the first to chat with opponents after the team handshakes at the end of the game.
When asked if there were any memorable rugby moments, Eddie described what he considers to be the best game. It was the last game of the season… “the moment I dreamt about was when we had a full team maul near our opponent’s try line however we failed to score a try… but it was a good effort.” Another memorable moment was a rugby team party where everybody had a chance to really meet each other and get to know each other while having fun. “I can genuinely say rugby is a unique sport and Strathmore High School has just made it even more special than it already is”.
Eddie attended Strathmore High School for two years graduating in June 2015. He is currently studying Engineering at the University of Calgary.