BOULARDERIE, N.S. —
Boularderie Elementary students struggled to find their own heartbeats until a few high jumps and high fives with members of the men's Cape Breton University Capers varsity basketball team.
The lesson in finding your rhythm and moving your muscles was delivered to the small rural school by coaches, retired teachers and four players from the CBU team.
Capers head coach Matt Skinn said volunteering and being connected to the wider community is an important part of being a CBU player.
"We try to promote healthy living to them on a day-to-day basis to make sure they're doing the right things, and we want to instill that message into kids so that when they're coming up they can hope to do the same thing and maybe play at CBU someday."
Already this school year, the men's basketball team has visited five schools around Cape Breton, with lessons on eating healthy and staying active.
Boularderie school Grade 4 student Jada Baker said she regularly exercises with dance lessons five days a week, but picked up some pointers on eating healthy, staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest.
As part of their Atlantic University Sport season routine, Capers players told students they operate under a strict curfew on nights before their games.
"It was really fun," said Grade 4 student Jada Baker, who is one of about 60 students enrolled at Boularderie Elementary.
"I didn't know they had a curfew and it was just cool having them here."
Boularderie physical education teacher Shane MacRae said the Capers players showed students how good habits can have a lasting impact.
Among the players who visited Boularderie last week were Ibrahim Gosselin-Diawara of Longueuil, Que.; Artur Arhangelski of Rakvere, Estonia; Eugene Kankue of Ottawa, Ont., and Clark Kang of Heilongjiang, China.
"I think it's important for them to see the older student-athletes and to get their perspectives on attending school, on nutrition, on sportsmanship and on the importance of daily exercise," MacRae said.
"It's good for them to see younger student-athletes in their 20s — they're role models that the students can look up to."
CBU basketball assistant coach Ron Shaw said this was the first year that the men's team visited schools on the island.
Shaw recruited friend and fellow retired teacher Gary MacLean to take part in a program geared for elementary students.
"It's been going absolutely awesome," said Shaw. "We did one visit early on and then the phone started to ring. We've done as many as we can this year, but we'll continue on with some of the other elementary schools."
Shaw said the program focuses on four main areas including nutrition, the importance of exercise, how proper sleep allows students to perform their best, along with the importance of hydration.
For the second part of the presentation, students were given the opportunity to have a basketball scrimmage with student-athletes before a contest between two teams made up of teachers and CBU student-athletes.
Before departing, the Capers handed out autographs to students.
The CAPERS depart on Thursday for the AUS Basketball Championships.
The championship schedule is as follows: (seeding in brackets)
Friday, March 1
QF #1: StFX (5th) vs. Cape Breton (4th), 6:30 p.m.
QF #2: Memorial (6th) vs. Dalhousie (3rd), 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 2
SF #1: Winner QF #1 vs. Saint Mary's (1st), 6:30 p.m.
SF #2: Winner QF #2 vs. UNB (2nd), 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 3
Championship Game: Winner SF #1 vs. Winner SF #2, 4:30 p.m.
Final AUS standings: http://atlanticuniversitysport.com/sports/mbkb/2018-19/standings.
All games of the championship will be broadcast live Bell Alliant's Fibe TV1 (channel 1) and available via webcast at www.AUStv.ca.
For more information on the 2019 Subway AUS Basketball Championships, visit the event website at: www.AUSHoops.ca. Single tickets will become available through the Ticket Atlantic box office Monday at 11 a.m.