The recent celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Sudbury Laurels provided an opportunity to catch up with many familiar faces from the past. Among the more interesting discussions was a re-visit with Sylvain Bastien, a former athlete (gymnast) and coach and member of a well-known local sports family (brother Yves played four years in the OHL).
These days, Sylvain and his wife, Laurentian Voyageurs varsity swim team alumnus Stephanie Kuhn, are enjoying the life cycle that sporting involvement can provide, as they guide their three children (ages 7, 4 and 3) through the athletic environment in Aurora, where both are teachers are Ecole secondaire catholique Renaissance.
"My wife and I were both very involved in sports, and I think we want to give them that opportunity as well, just to find their community and their sport and their support system, so that they can go through these life-learning experiences," noted the 33 year old former tumbler.
"Those were the experiences that really shaped me, growing up."
With both Sylvain and Stephanie having enjoyed success at an elite provincial level and beyond, one can understand a desire to perhaps help shape a second generation of similar sporting highlights.
Balance, however, is key, in the eyes of the Bastien's. "With my background and my wife's background in swimming, obviously we would love to have a swimmer and a gymnast," said Sylvain.
"The big thing for us is simply not to put any pressure on them. A lot of kids these days have too much pressure put on their shoulders and we see it at the community level, we see it at the school level. Our role is just to be supportive and be there for them, let them find what they want to do."
With job and family keeping him busy, Bastien has stepped away from any coaching involvement, at least for the moment. "I'm doing other things with the school, but still taking my kids to the gym, so that's at least keeping me in the loop."