Looking at Sports from the Sidelines
Could this be the next big outta-nowhere hit to be released by year’s end?
Storytelling is a word that gets a lot of play these days — whether it’s in print, at an indie folk festival — or at a Calgary high school.
This past summer, in the gym at Queen Elizabeth High School (a.k.a. Queen E), we found a posse of UCalgary alumni doing just that — telling stories — in the soon-to-be-released film that bears one of the longest, most literal titles ever penned: Events Transpiring Before, During and After a High School Basketball Game.
On a bench, under a banner that transforms Queen E into fictional Middleview High School, sits superstar Andrew Phung, BA’06, of Loose Moose fame and most recently the award-winning CBC series, Kim’s Convenience, looking glum as he watches a ragtag team of local high school kids try to play basketball. Directing Phung and the players is another alumnus, Ted Stenson, BA’09, MFA’14, who also wrote the 100-page script based on his time at this school. Alumni Nicola Waugh, BA’06, and Kevin Dong, BA’16, are the film’s producers.
“I played a lot of sports in this very gym,” explains Stenson, who graduated from Queen E in 2002. “Sure, we won one city championship in volleyball, but what I most remember isn’t the winning shot or the action of the game. It’s the stuff on the sidelines, in the bleachers . . . and, oddly, what the drama students were doing at the time. The absence of actual basketball action in this film was very intentional.”
What Stenson strove to avoid while penning this script were the classic tropes behind so many sports movies, such as the underdog who comes out of nowhere to win the final match, or the star player who gets corrupted by outside authority figures. No ham-fisted, heartstring-tugging sappy stereotypes here, says Stenson.
Phung, who just wrapped his fourth season as Kimchee on Kim’s Convenience, says, “it was the uniquely Calgary voice of the film” that brought him back to his hometown. “Not a cowboy voice, but a Calgary voice . . . one that sounds like every-day, grounded people. Plus, I was a teenager myself in the late ’90s, so I felt like I was reading myself when I first saw the script.”
Who Will Help Mom?
Over the next 20 years, Canada’s seniors’ population is expected to grow by 68 per cent and we, as a nation, are not ready. In fact, experts say we are facing a multifaceted economic, social and health-care crisis as our elder population grows. What are our priorities and what is UCalgary doing about the splintered system that exists today?
2019 Arch Award Recipients
Meet six remarkable alumni who are blazing trails across our skies, creating spaces for us to marvel at, championing rights for Indigenous people, leading coalitions of people, innovating new tech platforms and building bridges across global organizations. Although this year’s recipients walked the red carpet at the recent Arch Awards, their stories bear a replay.
Can't Get Enough?
Take the ultimate tour of campus with President Ed McCauley, meet the 2019 Arch Award recipients and find out what UCalgary is doing about the coming health-care crisis as our elder population grows. All this and more in the Fall/Winter 2019 Alumni Magazine.