At Kensington Community School, Olympian Josh Binstock was grilled by elementary students on his personal cell phone storage habits, his nerves, and his band-aid usage.
Binstock, 6′5″, who represented Canada at beach volleyball, was one of 200 Olympic and Paralympic athletes touring Toronto on Thursday as part of the â€śCelebration of Excellence,â€ť a tour that took the athletes around the city to visit the people who cheered them on back home while they were in London.
Wearing some red Olympic gear and towering over nearly everybody in the room, Binstock told the enraptured crowd how he played beach volleyball in front of Buckingham Palace as 15,000 people cheered against him for the hometown British squad.
Binstock asked the group about favourite athletes. When one child said â€śJamaican,â€ť Binstock did a Usain Bolt impression to confirm.
During the question-and-answer period, the questions were wide-ranging.
â€śWhere does Josh keep his phone?â€ť a kindergarten student asked.
â€śDo you keep it in your pocket?â€ť principal Jennifer Wilton offered.
â€śI do,â€ť said a smiling Binstock. (Later, the children would discover that the phone does not fall out of his pocket when he plays because he removes it for matches.)
â€śWhy does your partner have one bare foot and one sock?â€ť one student asked after the group watched a video of Binstock and Martin Reader during a match.
â€śAt the beginning of the season, he hurt his toe pretty badly. He has to wear the sock so his toe wonâ€™t be separated from his other toes,â€ť he explained.
The students were also curious about Readerâ€™s headband, which Binstock informed them had two purposes: the practical, of course, to keep the sweat at bay. And of course, style. â€śYou gotta have style,â€ť Binstock told the 120 students, who were wearing green and yellow for spirit day.
â€śDo you ever need Band Aids?â€ť came the next voice from the room, still dark from the video watching.
â€śOne time I hurt my finger and put a Band Aid on. It helped,â€ť he said.
â€śDo you ever get nervous?â€ť someone asked.
For sure, he said. â€śDonâ€™t be afraid to be nervous. It means that you care,â€ť he told the students.
Initially, the school was expecting badminton player Alexandra Bruce. Some kids had â€śWelcome Alexandraâ€ť on their headbands. One teacher brought birdies. Construction paper Olympic rings stapled together decorated the library But children are adaptive, and Binstock, who is a 31-year-old chiropractor from Richmond Hill, was a hit, telling the kids that he didnâ€™t even know about volleyball when he was young, and â€śitâ€™s never too late to do something that you love.â€ť
When Binstock told the students that he was looking forward to a rematch with Brazil at the next Olympics, one student yelled out â€śYou show them whoâ€™s boss!â€ť
At the end, when Wilton presented Binstock with a homemade welcome sign, he told the students that his friends would be jealous.
Binstock only returned to Canada this week, and said it was â€śawesomeâ€ť to have â€śkids looking up to you.â€ť He’d never spoken with students that young before.
Principal Jennifer Wilton said it really was one of â€śthose momentsâ€ť as an educator when you feel like itâ€™s the best job in the world, â€śwhen kids are so inspired and happy.â€ť
Story by Katie Daubs from The Toronto Star | TheStar.com