My name is Todd Hamaguchi, born in Chatham and a proud graduate of McNaughton Ave Public School, Chatham-Kent Secondary School (CKSS), and University of Windsor. I graduated with my Bachelor of Human Kinetics and Education and now work for the Lambton-Kent District School Board. Growing up I wanted to get out of Chatham-Kent (as I'm sure it is for most young people), move far away and figure out life. Now I am glad to be baCK in Chatham-Kent and contributing to my community.
Sports were a pivotal aspect of my childhood. As a McNaughton Golden Eagle, I had the opportunity to participate in school sports. However, being the youngest of three kids, there was pressure to follow suit academically, athletically and as a volunteer/good Samaritan for my community. I decided to embrace these pressures but do it in my own way - the Todd way. Having my older siblings as role models (didn't feel like it at that time) was key in becoming who I am today. But ultimately, these values came from our parents. They instilled a hard work ethic, determination, resiliency, a spark to fight and earn what we set as our goals.
My teachers at McNaughton really held me accountable for my actions, whether they were good or bad. They taught life lessons early, and I am forever grateful for their lessons. The combination of Dan Martin and Bob Barwick help create, establish, and fit the foundation of character and merit that my parents had begun. It translated into my time at CKSS, with another great and amazing group of teachers and coaches.
Being able to participate in volleyball, basketball, soccer, track & field, the Student Athletic Association (SAA), United Way Ambassador program, and the Anti-Bullying Team at CK, really helped hone my time management skills and learn to prioritize. Being able to balance these extracurricular activities and my academics was quite a task but knowing what my parents, my teachers and coaches have taught me - I knew it was doable!
With my involvement in camps and coaching when I was younger (grade 8), I really loved seeing the development of players - I loved seeing those who were having difficulty with a skill finally be successful with it. Their reaction, enjoyment and happiness always struck a chord with me. Knowing how much I enjoyed seeing others grow, I knew education was my path. At these camps growing up, without knowing and realizing, I was grooming myself for my future career. Shout out to John and Linda Corrente, Nicole Quigley, Randy, Mary Jane and Melissa Bartlett and Dan Martin for opportunities to coach at Wendy's Basketball Camp, Chatham-Kent Basketball/Fitness Camp, TVS Volleyball Camp and McNaughton junior teams while I was younger.
Being away at University, I missed being part of the team - I missed the camaraderie, the practices, the games, the tournaments and everything in between. As an athlete, I knew what my coaches were giving up to give us a chance/opportunity to excel, but I never truly understood or appreciated it. Being in my first year of my undergrad, my former coaches, Derek Quigley, Tim Leidl and Bob Barwick were very open and receptive to me helping them in their practices when I was home.
In teacher's college, I was very fortunate with my placements to learn about the education system from my former coaches, former teachers and great associate teachers and colleagues. Every placement (CKSS, McNaughton, Gregory Drive and Tecumseh) allowed me to help with sports teams and extra-curricular activities from SAA to intramurals.
Seeing the administration side of school sports, the time and effort of selecting the team, practice plans, planning tournaments (both hosting and going to) I have a greater and deeper appreciation for those who had given their time to my teammates and myself. It has made me want to give back to the coaches and programs that have shaped and moulded me, taught tough lessons and how to be a graceful winner and loser.
The list of coaches and teachers I need to give a shout out to is very long, but know from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate everything that you have done and taught me. I have been very fortunate to give back to the CKSS athletics program, coaching junior girls' basketball, junior boys' volleyball and basketball, senior girls' basketball, senior boys' volleyball and track & field. With my involvement in high school volleyball, the Chatham-Kent Ballhawks then reached out to have me coach at the club level. I gladly accepted and it has really given me a different perspective with a greater and deeper appreciation for the sport and our community.
Giving back to the programs and the community has been some of the most tiring work, but it's also the most rewarding times of my young life. I am very thankful that I am living in Chatham-Kent. I am grateful for what the community offered me growing up - now it is my turn to repay the opportunities and teach life lessons in our youth.