Competing Coaches

Article by: Maia Paterno

By day, they are in the classroom or on the field, teaching us the world of biology or the importance of physical education. By afternoon, they stand before us with whistles around their necks, coaching us to be the best rugby players and to be push our bodies to its physical and mental limits to better ourselves in the sports we play. They are non other than Mr. Niall Highland, biology teacher and ISM’s resident fitness coach, and Mr. James Doble, varsity rugby coach. But what goes on for these two teachers and coaches in their lives beyond the Bearcat academic and athletic community?

On top of coaching fitness for nearly every varsity team, Mr. Highland finds time away from the Bearcats in his boxing career. Mr. Highland started boxing when he moved to Manila, and what makes him love the sport so much is the social and cultural aspect of it. It does not come as much of a surprise to understand why anyone in Manila would be interested in boxing, with Manny Pacquiao as one of the our more unconventional national heroes, and Mr. Highland found that boxing was a good way to start connecting with the locals. However, with Highland’s busy schedule from 7-5, he does admit to finding it difficult to manage his time between his job and boxing, usually going six days a week and training for two hours each time. He even admits that when it gets really late, he doesn’t feel like going and would rather rest, but he quickly changes that mind-set and just goes, really personifying that ‘mental toughness’ he teaches his students and athletes.

Besides coaching Team Sports, Physical Education, and the varsity rugby team, Mr. Doble plays rugby outside of school in a local team that trains weekly. As a coach and player of the sport, he easily finds ways to incorporate what he learns on both fields to the other, explaining that the sport changes year to year, and its imperative that they all adapt as a team. But he too finds it difficult to manage time to play outside, especially during second season when he is coaching the ISM rugby boys. But as a way to make up for that, he often gets involved in the training himself when he coaches, stepping in on the rucks, back line, etc. With some of the players being extremely fit, conditioned, and mobile, he says it helps with the training.

It is difficult for anyone, especially teachers and coaches, to find time to do recreational sports on top of their busy and demanding schedules, but these two have found the time to do something they love despite being exhausted from a hard day’s work. As Doble explained it, “I think with anything in life, to be dedicated you do need to make sacrifices and prioritize your life. There is always time to be found if you have the desire.”