By David F. Rooney
Kids at Columbia Park Elementary School have had a remarkable couple of days spent hanging out with a world record holder — Rob (Frisbee Rob) McLeod who has 13 World Records, 8 World Championships and 6 Guinness Records.
The Calgary-based sportsman is a remarkably effective motivational speaker who specializes in talking with kids about bullying, being unique and pursuing their passions. He brought that message to Revelstoke for two days of interacting with CPE students.
“The kids really listen to him,” Grade Six teacher Tracey Hill said as her pupils played frisbee on the playground with McLeod.
As a boy in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Rob was involved in figure skating, a sport that many children used to think was just for girls. Rob was teased about figure skating so badly that he ran inside to get away from his tormentors on the playground and quit because he didn’t want to deal with the bullies any longer. Rob also dealt with bullying on the school bus and was pushed to the point of beating up one of his friends. He eventually learned how to follow his dreams no matter what other people said.
“As you know, when you get older it doesn’t really matter what other people think but when you’re in Grades 4 and 5 it’s a different story,” he said after spending part of Thursday afternoon with Tracey’s class.
McLeod’s dreams turned from figure skating to frisbee-based sports when his mother died while he was a boy. Throwing them was one of the methods he used to cope with her departure from his life, he said.
By the time allows said and done, he had put in 10,000 hours of practice and he had gained the skills that earned him 13 World Records, 8 World Championships and 6 Guinness Records. Today, he still works with frisbees and his dog, Davy the Whippet, who has two world records of his own. But he spends four days a week talking with school children about bullying and the importance of chasing your dreams.
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