Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Coach calling it a career after 33 years

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ADDY Ryngach remembers how her parents always offered her quiet support in all she chose to do. Mickey and Anne would tell her they knew she could do anything she put her mind to.

The Westwood Collegiate phys ed teacher and coach has done the same for many of her students and players over the years, with energetic enthusiasm.

After 33 years at the St. James high school, Ryngach will retire this June. But that won't slow her down. This active living expert will continue to volunteer, perhaps coach or referee, play golf and squash, cycle and make time for travelling and treks to the cottage.

"I have been active my whole life and it has been so good to me," says the River Heights resident. "So many people have a lot of strengths. I came along at the right time and just rolled with it."

Ryngach was born and raised in Portage la Prairie, and graduated from Portage Collegiate Institute. There, she played tennis and basketball. She played basketball for the Bisons while obtaining her Physical Education and Education degrees at the University of Manitoba.

She has spent her entire teaching career at Westwood Collegiate. It is a school with a strong basketball team and great kids, says Ryngach. She teaches phys ed and has coached volleyball, basketball and fastball for the Westwood Warriors. For her first 25 years at the school, senior phys ed teacher Dave Guss served as a mentor and an inspiration.

At the start of her career, the world of phys ed was changing and Ryngach caught the wave. By the mid 1970s, schools were hiring teachers with related degrees to teach phys ed and coach. She remembers a time in the early 1990s when mandatory phys ed programs at the grade 9 and 10 levels were in danger of being eliminated, and how teachers had to fight to keep them.

"We think it's very important to schedule in phys ed," says Ryngach. "To keep moving and be active. We need a structured program to target all students, not just those who play for the teams."

In that vein, in the past few years Westwood has introduced special phys ed-related optional classes for grades 11 and 12. These include a fitness training principles course, tae kwon do, self defence, bowling, fencing and more.

"The goal is to offer flexibility and choice, to expose students to new activities," says Ryngach.

In addition to her work at Westwood, Ryngach also served as head coach of the Bisons women's basketball team for two years.

Ryngach has received a number of awards and honours over the years, including U of M female athlete of the year, coaching awards, and induction into the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

The praise and nominations for awards offered by former students and players is quite humbling, says Ryngach. She fondly remembers a decades basketball tournament (players from the 1970s vs an 1980's squad) at Westwood Collegiate's 40th anniversary celebrations and how so many former students at the school were so proud to have played for the Warriors.

* * *

It's time to celebrate families and have some fun. The Community Expo: Celebrating Children, Youth and Families is set for May 15 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at St. James Civic Centre.

"Often, people with young children don't know when they have an issue. The expo is a wonderful way to highlight resources and programs available to families," says Anita Friesen, community research co-ordinator at the Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg. The event is organized by the institute's Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Centred Prairie Communities.

In addition to providing sources of information, the event will include a Funzone of activities for the kids, a reading nook, face painting, door prizes and a community cafe with snacks. Admission is free.

A number of community organizations and groups form the Centre of Excellence, including social service agencies, academic researchers and policy makers in six Canadian prairie communities. They focus on key issues affecting children and youth.

For further information, visit, call Friesen at 982-1152, or send an e-mail to

* * *

It's time for the Optimist Club of Assiniboia's 39th annual Buffalo Barbecue, May 16 to 19 at Heritage Victoria Community Centre.

Everyone is invited to stop by for burgers and fun. There'll be face painting daily from 1 to 5 p.m., fireworks on Saturday at dusk, a parade on Monday at 10 a.m. from Unicity Shopping Centre to the community centre, carnival rides, games and those traditional buffalo burgers as well as traditional burgers and hotdogs.

Proceeds to benefit local children through projects including the Optimist International Band Festival, oratorical competitions, Camp Manitou and the Optimist track and field team. There are seven Optimist clubs in Winnipeg with a mandate to improve the lives of youth.

* * *

Freelance writer Liz Katynski is the Community Review writer for West Winnipeg. If you have a story idea, call 255-6613, e-mail or send a fax to 697-7370.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 14, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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