From VERSUS to AND (Richard Way)

April 2, 2012

The structure of sport and physical activity in Canada creates an “us versus them” mentality. Organization versus organization; sport versus recreation; soccer versus hockey. The structure cause organization to all be competing for a piece of the pie – whether that pie be funding, quality coaches, administrators or support staff, or even athletes!

What if we could change from “versus” to “and”? What does it look like when acrobatic sports work together to develop better all around athletes, regardless of what sport those athletes end up with? What if Provincial Sport Organizations worked hand in hand with National Sport Organizations to align competition structures seamlessly? What if school sport and club sport share resources?

Sometimes it’s difficult for us to do this. It requires us to release some control, to change traditional structures, to break down barriers. It can be scary! But it will bring to the surface better results, more synergies and a better sport and physical activity sector in Canada!

After presenting my Big Idea at the 2012 CS4L Summit I was happy to hear “From VS to AND” be used in other presentations, we heard that Team Sport NSOs are working closely together to help each other through successful competition reviews and now long-term officials development. They are finding strengths in their differences, in their successes and in their challenges.

We have foundation sports working together – gymnastics, athletics and swimming – developing the Move Your Body program, which includes well-rounded lesson plans for after school programs that will help kids to develop physical literacy!
Recreation, education and sport are beginning to work more closely together, identifying that we all have areas of expertise and by collaborating we can create better programs.

I challenge all of you to think, how can you work with other organizations/clubs/groups/sports instead of how can you work against or how can you beat the another organization. We are all on the same team, a team working for the people to maximize their potential. Let’s work together, give each other a little push to other organization so we can create better sport and physical activity in Canada.


Richard Way
Richard Way is the Senior Leader of the Canadian Sport for Life movement and a member of the Leadership Team. He has extensive leadership experience in the Canadian sport community including working with countless organizations on strategic planning and management functions, the Director of Sport for Vancouver’s successful 2010 Bid Corporation and twelve years with the Government of BC primarily in coaching education and training. A two-sport athlete, Richard represented Canada as a Luge athlete and coach as well as being an All-Canada-West soccer player with the University of Calgary. He now coaches his children at the community sport level.