Ralph Forsyth 

Families first

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What's one thing people would be surprised to learn about you? That I'm the youngest of eight children in my family. I have 28 first cousins.

What world leader would you most like to go for dinner/drinks with and why? Abraham Lincoln. He's the greatest politician who ever lived. Obama obviously took a page out of his book because of all the things he did in his campaign. He announced in Springfield (Illinois). He used Lincoln's bible (when he was sworn in). Lincoln was truly an amazing person. When Lincoln sought the Republican nomination in 1851, he was a nobody ... and Lincoln won after three days of voting, and when he emerged as the presidential candidate he took all of his opponents and put them in his cabinet.

What book do you recommend everyone read and why? For Canadians, it's The Last Spike by Pierre Berton. It's a real insight into the character of the people who made Canada what it is, and how the railroad really united the country.

Give an example of a difficult situation you have overcome. It's not my proudest moment. I was 13 and I had a kid bullying me at school. We were on the football team and he stole my jersey. And he's bigger than me and stronger than me. I said, "Give me my jersey back," and he said, "What are you going to do about it?" So I punched him in the face as hard as I could. He quickly got the better of me, and the teacher broke it up. We're both suspended and I know bad things are going to happen when I get home. And I go out to the bus stop and the whole football team is waiting there for me. I thought, "the beating is really going to come now," and one of them asked, "is it true you punched Dino?" and I said, "yeah." They put me on their shoulders and carried me onto the bus. It's not the best story, and I would never promote fighting, but since then I've always wanted to confront bullies.

"Next kid who drops a ball that hits them in their stomach, we're all running laps!"

It turns out to be an empty threat, though the kids get the message. They still drop balls - they are between the ages of six and nine after all, and footballs are hard to throw and catch - but they have their heads in the game now.

Ralph Forsyth is not a tall man, but he towers over the Whistler Saints flag football team, running them through drills leading up to a practice scrimmage. Like any good coach he focuses on the little things, instead of trying to overload his players with too much advice.

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